Thought of the Day

Hat tip to Ireland’s Phil on SG for prompting this thought.

During his professional singing career, Mark Trammell has performed with a number of tenor singers (Ernie Phillips, Kirk Talley, Danny Funderburk, Ernie Haase, Chris Allman, Jay Parrack, Eric Phillips, Joel Wood), a number of lead singers (Jim Hamill, Squire Parsons[?], Wayne Maynard, Glen Payne, Gerald Wolfe, Steve Lacey, David Hill, Jonathan Wilburn, Joseph Smith, and Dustin Sweatman), and a number of piano players (Anthony Burger, Roger Bennett, Gerald Wolfe, David Brooks, Shane Jenkins, Randy Matthews, Byron Stewart, Tim Parton, Channing Eleton, Dustin Sweatman, and Steve Hurst).

But he has only sung with three bass singers—Ray Dean Reese, George Younce, and Tim Riley.

And now, number four, Pat Barker.

Mark Trammell has performed the amazing feat of selecting a singer worth mentioning in the same breath as the first three.


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64 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. In reference to the ? next to Squire, everything I’ve seen suggests Squire and Mark in the Kingsmen at the same time, although I think Squire mainly sang baritone at that time, with Mark singing occasionally. Wayne Maynard replaced Squire I think. Not sure if that was before or after Mark left.

    • Did they do any recordings together?

      • Judge for yourself…is the big guy in the middle Squire? I’m pretty sure it is:

        [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]

        And Maynard definitely joined before Mark left.

      • That does look right. I recognize Squire now but don’t really recognize the way he looked then, so I’m not the authority on that.

      • Yeah, it’s not a photograph and the faces are small, but it looks a whole lot more like Squire than Maynard. And the sheer size of the guy makes me think it’s Squire, too. Squire’s, what, 6’4?

      • Now there you have something I don’t know!

      • I do not know specifically how tall he is, but he is very tall! I’d say 6’4″ is a good estimate.

      • I’m not certain, but I believe the “big guy” pictured on the “Out of the Past” LP cover is Gary “Beaver” Dilliard.

      • The big guy in the Middle is definately Gary Dillard.

      • My question is, Who are the two sitting on each side of Gary on the wagon? is the one on the right Nick Bruno?

      • From left to right on the entire album, I think it’s: Mark Trammell, Jim Hamill, Anthony Burger, Gary Dillard, I think the blond with his head turned is Greg Fox, Ernie Phillips seated, Ray Dean Reese, and Foxy on the end.

  2. Anyway, as to the topic of the post, that’s an impressive resume. I was going to try to come with an “all-star” quartet made up of people Trammell has sung with, but that’s impossible. There’s Hall of Famers all over that list.

    • True. I’ve said before that he has the most impressive resumé in Southern Gospel. And this move has him poised to have a new chapter on par with any other.

      • He has certainly laid the groundwork to be one of the top quartets, that is for sure!

      • And one really underrated thing about Mark is that he’s sung and had to blend with all kinds of different singers. He’s sung with smooth tenors, power tenors, and screaming tenors. He’s sung with soulful leads, clear leads, leads higher than himself, leads lower than himself. He’s sung with dry and clear basses, rich and melodic basses.

        What a singer.

  3. This thought actually occurred to me. How ironic that you posted this! I could not agree more.

  4. Great post! I have always thought that Mark is one of the all-time greatest singers period. I can’t think of a baritone that could beat him and can’t think of a singer at any position that can blend as well as him. I have always wanted the MTT to be the MTQ and am so glad that he chose Pat! I am so anxious to hear them! And I agree that he quite possibly has the most impressive resume’.

  5. Random typing tip of the day: For é, hold down alt and type 0233.

    • Random tip from Spanish major – Alt 130 is faster! 🙂 But I don’t know if it works everywhere.

      • é

        Yes, it works for me! 🙂

  6. howdy, it is not squire in the photo, its (gary dillard). no sign of squire in there.

  7. howdy again, this record is from 1979, squire had already left.

    • I thought so. Didn’t he leave in 1976?

      • No, he definitely didn’t leave the Kingsmen until 1979. The question is was it before or after Mark joined? Now that David has said what he did, I think I agree that is Gary Dillard in that album cover, which would mean that Mark and Squire were not both on that recording. That would suggest to me that Mark replaced Squire in the group, since either he or Foxy would have sung baritone on that record. Oh well, maybe some Kingsman will drop in and help us out. 🙂

      • Mark is on From Out of the Past—or at least he seemed to think so when I got him to autograph my copy a couple months ago.

        Last time I saw the Mark Trammell Trio, I was really cracking Dustin Sweatman up, since I had brought one project from each of Mark’s major groups for him to autograph. That was the one I brought for the Kingsmen. 🙂

      • Yeah, Mark I had no trouble recognizing on the cover on the far left. He looks kinda spooky, thought, to be honest. 🙂

        You should have taken the opportunity when he signed it to ask him who the big dude in the middle was! LOL…

      • If I’d known it would be an issue, I would have!

        I can’t imagine Mark looking spooky! For some reason, it just didn’t strike me that way. 🙂

      • howdy, squire left in early 79. Mark was with the kingsmen from 1978 to 1980. Mark primiarly came to play the bass guitar and occasionally sing. Foxy came back into the lineup, until they found wayne manard singing with the singing americans.

  8. Another bass: when Mark was with the Senators, Rick Fair was the bass. Although he played bass, he did an occasional number as he did with the Kinghsmen.

    • Fascinating tidbit. I had counted Mark’s professional career as beginning with the Kingsmen, since that seems to be where people generally mention it, but I did know he was with the Senators beforehand.

      • Prior to the Senators Mark & his Brother Jerry were with a group called the Arkansas Boys, out of North Little Rock. Jerry then went with the Floriday boys and Mark the Senators..

    • hey dean, if i recall correctly, we was with a group out of arkansas before this, (ozark or arkansas mountain boys) something to that affect. i don’t have anything that early or even know if they had a bass singer, i just remember him being with a group before the senators.(hamill was with this group after he briefly left the kingsmen in 1976.)

      • Yes, he was with a group along those lines before the Senators, I just wasn’t counting that as time spent on the national scene.

      • There was not a bass singer with the Arkanasas Boys. Only a trio. I don’t recall the 3rd guy besides Jerry & Mark. I can recall them coming to Mississippi in the back of a pick-up truck. with Lawn chairs ! he’s come a LONG LONG way !
        I enjoyed reminicing (SP) with Mark recently about this trip !

  9. Daniel, how do u do the symbol on a blackberry? LOL!

    • Now that is what I don’t know.

  10. I’m glad to call Pat my friend, and while he is not necessarily what you would call a “low-down” bass singer, I would argue that he is the finest “singer with a low voice” on the road today. As an overall vocalist and certainly as a bass soloist, there really isn’t a bass singer in our business than can match him right now. While I hate to see him leave the Echoes, I can understand his move, as he is now able to return home to North Alabama and still sing, and follow his heart as the Lord continues to lead him. He is a great Christian man with a real good heart. I wish Pat the best and I pray for my buddies the Dixie Echoes as they find Pat’s replacement.

    • “return home to North Alabama and still sing”

      Now that is a crucial detail I hadn’t known about. That would certainly play into a decision!

  11. Mark Trammell has quite possibly the most impressive resume in SG history. Kingsmen, Cathedrals, Greater Vision, Gold City…

    Pat Barker in the same breath as Tim Riley? I’d say give him a few years.

    • Your comment indirectly gave me a moment of inspiration when you mentioned Tim. I would love to see the Mark Trammell Quartet to record “Under Control”. I bet Pat could really shine on that one, and it would really fit the lineup’s voices well, IMO.

      • Under Control should be left alone.
        Tim Riley put the stamp on that song
        and it should be left that way.

    • Tyler—but how many times have you heard Pat live (outside of extra-truncated NQC sets)?

      • I haven’t. That said, I think Tim Riley is easily the best bass singer on the road today, and possibly the best all-around bass singer of all time. He just nails those ultra-low notes with so much more authority than just about any other bass singer I can name.

        That said, having now read your explanatory comments on Barker – not saying he is as good as them or of legendary status, just saying he is really good at this point of his career, I don’t disagree.

        I just don’t like the mention of Pat and Tim in the same sentence yet. 😀

  12. Maybe you did not realize it, Dustin Sweatman’s name needs to be on the list of Piano players. Even tho he is a great lead singer he is one of the best piano players in the industry today.

    • Yes, I did know he was a pianist, and an excellent one. It just slipped my mind.

  13. Thanks for the link! 🙂

  14. Maybe we’re rushing things a bit comparing him to Tim Riley and George Younce. Longevity aside, they are legends.

    • Pat has been known on the professional scene for 6-8 years, first with the Diplomats, then off the road for a bit, then several years with the Dixie Echoes. He is as good (in his own way, not in being the next somebody else) as other legends were with that many years under their belt.

      • I agree that he can be compared with Riley and Younce…yes, those two have/had been around along time and have proven themselves, but Pat certainly has the skills and talents to do the job equally as well.

      • Just have to agree to disagree. It is a comparison of different types of bass singers. Pat does not have the low range of Riley or Younce. However, his solos are very good and he is a very fine “classic” style singer. Would not fit in every group but is great at his niche.

      • Exactly. They are indeed different types. It’s not like Pat is trying to be the next Tim Riley, just like Tim Riley wasn’t trying to be the next Big Chief. The best singers are unique and have their own sound, not someone else’s.

      • My only contention is that you cannot put someone in “Legend” status that has only been on the scene a few short years. I’m not taking anything from the man, just not putting him in the same breath as gospel music legends yet.

      • I agree, he’s not a legend yet. But actually, I didn’t say he was a legend. What I said was that he’s good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the other three bass singers with whom Mark Trammell has shared the stage during his time in the national spotlight. 🙂

      • I prefer a singer with their own sound any day…rather than just another “sound-a-like.”

  15. Mark Trammell is an awesome singer. Love his voice! So happy to hear that Pat Barker is joining the quartet. I’ve only heard him at the NQC but can’t wait to hear him with this new quartet.

  16. “I prefer a singer with their own sound any day…rather than just another “sound-a-like.””

    That’s what makes Tim Riley the man!! 😀

  17. Well, some of you wanted help with the guys on this album. From RIGHT to LEFT

    [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]

    Foxie
    Ray Dean
    Ernie Phillips
    Greg Fox (standing..blond hair)
    Me..Gary Dillard w/bowtie
    Anthony Burger
    Jim Hamill
    Mark Trammel

    Squire was still with the group but was leaving soon. He didn’t want to be on the cover as he knew he would be gone when the album was released. So hard to believe that Anthony, Foxie and Jim are gone. Thanks for sharing the album cover.

  18. Randomly bringing this back. I have a question for any Kingsmen/Cathedrals nuts.

    Does anyone know if Mark Trammell sings on the two Kingsmen albums, “From Out of the Past” and “Ring the Bells of Freedom”? Is he featured on any of the songs?

    Daniel, I know you can tell me this, as can some others: On “Colors of His Love” (1981), on which song(s) does Mark get the feature?

    The reason I ask is that I’m very close to owning every single project that Mark has been on. The only ones I’m missing (that I know of) are the quartet version of Vintage Gospel and Mark’s 2nd solo CD (Treasures of the Heart 2), both of which I plan on getting at their concert Saturday; Greater Vision’s debut “You Can Have a Song”, the Cathedrals’ “Colors of His Love”, and the two Kingsmen albums (and anything that came before them with other groups). I’m making a list of all the songs on which Mark gets the feature…right now I’m at about 140 songs.

    Did you know…so far the lowest note I’ve got Mark singing on solo lines is an F3 in “Show Me the Cross”, and the highest is an A5 in a couple different songs, including “Come On Home” from Travelin’ Live. I think I may be able to find a note higher than that, though, if I keep looking (or listening). He spans two full octaves (Aflat3 to Aflat5) in “Loving the Lamb”.

    • Whoops, that should be an F2 on “Show Me the Cross” 😉

    • I’ve heard Mark hit a B-flat somewhere, and possibly a B-natural. Check “If Only Just a Few.”

      • Ah, I haven’t gotten to “If Only Just a Few” yet. On the last chorus, with that huge “prays through”…yeah, that’s probably a Bflat. I’ll check when I get home.

      • Not 100% sure, but I think he hits a Bb on “Calvary Came Through” off Gold City’s Renewed CD. He goes to an A on “Calvary’s Hill” on Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

      • I’ve confirmed a Bflat5 on “If Only Just a Few”. That’s an A5 on “Calvary Came Through” (“I will glory in the cross…”), and I’ve got an Aflat5 on “Calvary’s Hill” (“…I should have died there…”). I used a virtual keyboard online so I wouldn’t have to get off the couch. 😉

        I plan finding his range on all his featured songs, so I’ll try to remember to revisit this when I’m done. Don’t ask me why I’m doing this. I’m not sure myself.

      • Well, it is fascinating in an unusual sort of way . . . if it’ll go out for public consumption, I would love to be the site to publish it!