Chris Cooper leaves Gold City

As a number of other Southern Gospel sites have posted, and as SoGospelNews has officially confirmed [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed], Chris Cooper has left Gold City. The group has indicated they will announce his replacement within the next few days.

Changes of this sort can be mutually agreeable. His departure doesn’t mean that he got fired or quit on bad terms. Sometimes someone gets a taste of road life—or more accurately, in Chris’s case, the pressure of the spotlight in a group that has been at the top of its genre with multiple past lineups—and decides it just isn’t their cup of tea. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It seems many Gold City fans are collectively holding their breath to see if Tim Riley can talk Jay Parrack back onto the road. But whether or not this happens, what does seem fairly certain is that the star power of Tim Riley should come with the pull to land a top talent.


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32 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I had the privilege of attending a Gold City concert several years ago when the lineup was Tim Riley, Mark Trammell, Jay Parrack and Jonathon Wilburn. One of the, if not “the” best concerts I’ve ever attended.

    But, what made this a special event was what happened at the record table after the show. Many groups present themselves as just down hom, good ole boys on stage, but when you approach them later that is not the case. Jay was one of those guys who was real. I commented that I loved his contribution and although I wasn’t a tenor, I did try to hit his notes and “hurt myself.” He laughed and said, “Yes, I know. Sometimes I hurt myself too.”

    Bring back Jay Parrack! That would be a tremendous addition, as there are few who has the range that he has, and his stage presence is awesome.

  2. Yes, bring back Jay Parrack!!

    This is a golden opportunity for Gold City to get someone with a high range and great stage presence. If they miss this opportunity, they’ll be worse off than they have ever been.

  3. I think it would be awesome if Jay came back but i don’t think it will ever happen. The last i heard he was very happy being home and being music minister at a large church here in Bama…RTR by the way.

    How about Dan Keeton as a replacement, he’s really high. I heard him fill in for a Jay a few years ago and he sounded great.

  4. I, too, would love to have Jay Parrack back. However, I trust that they will make a good decision and all will be well, whatever they choose.

  5. I think Gold City should try to hire someone new. Someone that hasn’t really sung with a major group. They hired Brian Free. Look how he turned out.

  6. Both Jonathan and Jay did well playing off of each other…that’s part of what made that line up in the 90s so beautiful. They’re a different group now, with a different style – it may work but it won’t be as majical as some people expect it to be. Of course, that’s just my view…

  7. people who want Jay back must not understand where he is in his post GC life. i think i know him pretty well and cant honestly see him resigning his post as Minister of Music at Hillcrest Baptist to return to 200 plus days on the road..just wouldnt make good sense. i am a Jay fan myself but this isnt the GC of then its the GC of NOW. Lets all take a deep breath and relax and the replacement to be named soon

  8. Jay and Jonathan are doing a few dates right now, So I’m not sure if Jay would be interested in rejoining GC. This Quartet is just trying to find the right people, Group changes are never good, but have to happen until things fit together right. With Tim helping Daniel out, I think things will work out fine. People should try to be easier on Daniel, Running a group that has had as many #1 hits as GC is hard. Those are really big shoes to fill!!
    From Someone who knows….

  9. Perhaps Steve Ladd may be making a return. He seems to me to be the obvious suspect, as the announcement is coming in a few days and he’s the closest in location to the group. Just a thought.

  10. It will be interesting to see just who they get. Tim Riley is arguably the best bass singer in Southern Gospel and is a very good manager of the quartet. I trust that he will rely on God (or has relied on God) to supply the right tenor singer to the group. Gold City has had several personnel changes this year as we all know and they have suffered scrutiny because of it. However, we should pray for them as they try to rebuild. Gold City has always been true to the calling and I know they will make the right call here. Thanks for the update Daniel. Great posts by everyone else too. I personally would love to see Jay come back and sing with them but I just don’t know if that is God’s will or not. We shall soon see.

  11. [EDIT] there will never be a gold city lineup that will come close to jay johnathan mark and tim…sad to say but in my opinion, those four guys make up the best quartet in history

  12. Now we have two quartets in need of a tenor. There are good ones out there waiting to come back.

  13. Who is the other Quartet loosing a tenor besides Gold City?

    • I meant losing?

  14. yeah who else is out?

  15. Yes, Jay Parrack did a great job for the GC, but the apple never falls too far from the tree. Jay’s dad, Johnny Parrack was probably the best all around tenor that the Kingsmen ever had. He had it all. Check out this site for a trip down memory lane and hear the astounding pipes of this great tenor from the past. It’s a Kingsmen reunion and it features excerpts from the evening that feature the tenor voice of Johnny. And Dad still has “it.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfGjKAX0UKc&feature=related

  16. You’re absolutely right, Neil. Johnny Parrack was the template for all Kingsmen tenors that came after him. Eldridge Fox really remade the Kingsmen during their “Ton of Fun” period, that “Big and Live” line-up of Parrack, Hammill, Foxy, and Ray was never really improved on. Every Kingsmen tenor who has to sing “The Glory Road” night after night is doing a Johnny Parrack impression… he was/is that good.

  17. Johnny is great but Jerry Martin…there’s the best. 😉

  18. I’m with you Steve.

  19. Ernie Phillips was the best Kingsmen tenor. I believe.

  20. Maybe Brian and Ivan will come back!! LOL 🙂

    Posted from BlackBerry

  21. I myself would love to see Jay come back, I saw GC in MS last month and Tim Riley rocked the house and the GC line up was great to other than the tenor was rocky. Tim Riley will make the right choice for the tenor position and It wont be long. Also to #17 and #18 Jerry Martin was fantastic with The Kingsmen, but the best Kingsmen days was with Ernie Phillips, all through his tenure with The Kingsmen they were top of the line and had numerous hits, not a song they sang was bad. John Parrack is awesome to he is indeed a Kingsmen great in my book also. GOD BLESS EVERYONE, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    • Well said, Blake. I can not even imagine the pressure that Chris was under having to fill the shoes of Brian Free, Jay Parrack, and Steve Ladd. Especially since Gold City has recently (in the past couple years) started bringing back the older songs that made them one of the greatest quartets; songs like “John Saw” and “In Time, On Time, Everytime.” Those songs tested Brian and Jay’s ranges and they are two of the best in the business. I think Chris did a great job considering it was his first full-time position but I know that it had to be stressful on his voice. Chris, you will always be a class act in my book and you did a great job! God bless you Blake and everyone else on this post. Hope everyone has a very Merry CHRISTmas!

  22. It has been my distinct honor to minister with GC on several occasions as our “Preach the Word” tour continues to gain momentum. Many folks have trusted Christ as their savior , as well as countless other life changing decisions.
    I am truly impressed by this great group of guys for many reasons, but hands down is their devotion and commitment to something more than just a concert. They really desire to see people saved and lives changed through the power of the gospel. I guess that has encouraged me the most about the trend in SG music today. I rejoice to see the renewed commitment of so many artists to share what matters the most; and that is that Jesus Christ can save and change a life! Now – “Aint that what it’s all About?”
    Merry Christmas Friends,
    Jamey Ragle

  23. Jay had an awesome voice and range with GC, but as stated above the interaction between him and Jonathan was what made it great! I don’t think that will happen with Bruce he’s a singer but not a smiler.

  24. Joshua Cobb was just named new tenor for Gold City.

  25. STAC you are exactly right Wilburn and Parrack were perfect fit for each other. i am excited to see Cobb and Talifero work with each other, I think that the Rileys have made a get choice, and I hope Cobb stays with the commitment.It is going to be interesting with lineups in the 80’s with Brian,Ivan, Tim,Mike; In the 90s Mark, Jonathan,Jay,Tim: In 00s Steve,Jon,Danny,Jonathan/Bruce, Aaron/Tim/Bill; 10s Tim,Danny,Bruce,Josh; Gold City will always have top of the line personel and I think they have done it again, WOW looking forward to seeing some more get years from them. I wish Chris Cooper the best. I also wish Gold City the best also, I am lookine forward to the next recording from Gold City and hopeing they can gain a #1 on the chart soon. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!

  26. can someone help me. I have been trying to find the song, “Stand” for some time now. Please help me.

  27. JC, check out the sellers here or I can look elsewhere:

    http://www.amazon.com/Renewed-Gold-City/dp/B000008S45

  28. BTW, You might make sure these are original copies as some of these were sold on CD-r

  29. I was so disappointed to hear that Chris Cooper has left Gold City. He was an awesome personality with a great voice. He added so much to the presenting of the gospel in song. Also the bass singer’s leaving is a loss, in my opinion. My family loved both of these guys, and we wish them the best of God’s blessings.