The Best Lineup that Never Was: Kingsmen
Every now and then, Quartet Fan, the anonymous occasional blogger at Southern Gospel Perspective, comes up with an excellent idea. My favorite to date has been his Twelve Days of Christmas series; I have, in fact, borrowed the idea myself.
Well, he came up with another great idea: He’s doing a “This Group’s Best” series, featuring the best singer at each vocal position throughout a group’s history. He’s done Gold City and the Kingsmen so far. I’d love to borrow the idea, but if I did it I suppose he’d (rightfully) accuse me of swooping in and snatching every good idea he has. So I’ll pass.
Instead, I’ll do something quite different. I will take eight groups, and pick one person at each position who has never sung with the group. I will name only current singers, and I won’t re-use any singers twice. My goal is to put together four singers who, if they sang together, would produce the sort of sound where an average listener would recognize them instantly as the group I suggest.
So let’s start with the Kingsmen. Here is the best Kingsmen lineup that never was:
Tenor: Eric Phillips
Lead: Phil Cross
Baritone: Dustin Sweatman
Bass: Randy Byrd
Phillips has an indisputably Kingsmen quality, in part because his father (along with Johnny Parrack) defined that quality in the 70s and 80s.
I had some difficulty in coming up with a lead singer with the right sound, but Phil Cross comes close enough.
When I thought of doing this series, Dustin Sweatman was the first person I settled on. He has a perfect voice quality for the kind of vocal energy demanded out of a baritone in the Kingsmen’s glory days. Just picture him doing, say, “Bound for the Land of Canaan,” in a baritone quality but ending on a high G or thereabouts, and you get the picture.
For the bass, Ray Dean Reese is synonymous with the Kingsmen, and I highly doubt they will last past his retirement. However, the bass currently touring the professional SG circuit with the closest voice quality is Randy Byrd. He would hit the Kingsmen classics out of the park, and sounds close enough to Reese to pull it off.
I’ll plan on posting about one lineup per week. Be looking for other favorite groups in the near future!