The Best Lineup that Never Was: Dove Brothers

Let’s continue the “Best Lineup that Never Was” series with a look at the Dove Brothers.

  • Jay Parrack. Parrack can blow the roof off with his high endings, but he can also sing the soft tenor parts–such as those required by “I Can Pray”–to perfection.
  • Ben Harris. Harris, the lead singer for Southern Sound, has always struck me as having a voice falling somewhere between McCray Dove and Jake Hess in voice quality.
  • Daniel Riley. Eric Dove has a fairly distinct accent and tone that no other baritone quite duplicates; however, when Daniel Riley sticks to singing baritone and doesn’t venture into lead singer territory, his voice is the closest to Dove’s that I can come up with.
  • Ray Dean Reese. His voice quality sometimes reminds me of David Hester’s. Of course, I should have said that in reverse, but that would have defeated the purpose here.

I think that this group could sing the current lineup’s songs so well that an audience that only saw but did not hear them would sit back and wonder if it was the real McCoy.

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42 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. You sure are a fan of Ray Dean Reese, aren’t you, Daniel?

    I don’t know offhand who I’d choose instead, but I’d certainly choose someone who could sing(or at least hit)the same notes Hester can. And that guy ain’t Ray Dean!

  2. John, I’m a fan of Southern Gospel male quartets. I like most male quartets. Now I don’t like Reese quite as much as I like Hester, but he is pretty good.

    It is funny where even ambivalence can be interpreted as “being a huge fan of…”

  3. I have to agree with John. The rest of your group looks good, but Ray doesn’t seem to fit the Dove’s style.

    I think Aaron McCune would be a good choice.

  4. You must have a really good imagination to stretch this far! LOL Not only do I agree with Ray being a poor “substitute”, but I also share the same sentiment for Jay’s “substitution” for Jerry Martin….and what the heck, the other two as well. But, hey, to each their own …

    At least you’re continuing to blog!

  5. Daniel, I don’t associate “ambivalence” with your remarks about Ray Dean.

    I’m just recalling by memory previous correspondence we’ve had concerning Reese’s alleged history with the Inspirations and comments I’ve seen you make about him at other times, and concluded with tongue in cheek that because of those comments(and other compaeisons you’ve made)that you must enjoy Ray Dean, at least to some extent.

  6. I like your picks for your line ups that never was, some like Ben Harris I’m not too familiar with. I’ve found in the past the groups you’ve done are very interesting. I don’t mean to sound critical of anybody,but heck I think some of these people believe you’re actually put the groups together and hit the road.

  7. That is one of the funniest comments I’ve seen in a while!

  8. Isn’t Ben Harris that died-in-the-wool Democratic who comments/commented (more like argues/argued) with Deon Unthank all the time on the boards? Sorry, but I was turned off. Majorly.

  9. You put ol’ Ben in a group, Daniel? I must’ve missed that! Where was he?

  10. John, look above; it was in this very post! πŸ˜†

  11. Sammie D., I don’t know his politics; I just know his voice.

    On second thought, I seem to remember some comments indicating he was disenchanted with some of the current Republicans, but then I (a lifetime Republican) am as well. Some Republicans just aren’t holding to conservative values these days.

  12. Like his politics or not, Ben Harris is one of the finest Christian gentlemen I’ve ever had the priviledge of meeting. He is also an extremely talented vocalist and a gifted studio person.

    I don’t think I’d ever put him with the Dove Brothers, but if I needed a Christian brother to pray for me, Ben Harris would certainly be among the first people I would call.

  13. Well, that is a far higher endorsement than saying he would sound good with a group! πŸ™‚

  14. I don’t appreciate Bush-bashers. Maybe he has made some mistakes. Maybe you don’t like his style, but that doesn’t give you a right to blast our leaders. The Bible says to pray for our government, not tear them down. Sorry, I’m still turned off. Majorly. How in the world could you ever vote for someone else who is pro-abort, pro-gay-marriage, and pro-removing-God-from-schools? …still turned off, but I’m shutting up now.

  15. …and yet he tried to send Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

    I would never have thought of voting for John Kerry, but I’m still disappointed in some of Bush’s actions.

  16. I did not think that Mrs. Miers was all that bad, but perhaps i am mistaken.

    Regardless, Bush-bashing while supporting the ultra-liberal left wing is not what I would consider a Christian example.

  17. She was pro-choice. For a Republican to waste one of his (probably) two Supreme Court slots on a pro-choicer would have been a supreme folly, even if she was his personal friend.

  18. My how a topic can shift.
    I totally agree with the last comment.

  19. Quaid, we may have cross-posted. Were you agreeing with me or with Sammie?

  20. I have to agree with the comment made by John:

    “Like his politics or not, Ben Harris is one of the finest Christian gentlemen I’ve ever had the priviledge of meeting.”

    I fail to see how his political preference has anything to do with the topic. There are those who are also turned off by the “stay the course” rhetoric as well.

  21. Well, where do I start? I think the group above would have some problems. Ray Dean is a good friend and I love the guy, but I can’t imagine him singing a 6th. Aaron McCune would be a better choice as someone else posted. Our current bass, Alan Brewster would also be a good choice. And come to think of it, Trevor Haley on baritone and Mike Young on tenor would please me to. Oh wait, that is already a performing group. As to Sammie’s comment that he is turned off, I am sorry he feels that way since we have never met, nor does he have a clue where I stand on faith based issues. I am basically from the school of, “throw ALL the bums out”. I do not believe in condoning anything that is an outright offense to God, including the prosecuting of ill conceived wars. (Contrary to popular belief, God does not ordain wars, man in his inability to cope with each other gets that nod) If we as Christians cannot not make a stand for that which is right, we need to reassess or Christian walk.

    Thanks to Dean and John for such kind comments. Unlike Sammie, the three of us have spent many hours together and I cannot remember a negative word ever being said in that time about any other human being. Seems like there is something to be learned there?

  22. Thanks for stopping by, Ben. By the way, I meant suggesting you for this lineup as a high compliment. πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks for commenting, Ben. Just out of curiousity (and you don’t have to answer this), but if the Democrats nominate Clinton, Obama, or Edwards would you vote for them?

    I’d like to hear Southern Sound sometime!

  24. Tyler, lets not get into politics, as this is a web site devoted to Southern Gospel Music. Lets just say no one running on either side currently has me very thrilled. In fact, I am very disenchanted with virtually all politics currently. The bitterness it has caused has made me re-think every position I ever thought was valid and true. The above post is a good example of Christian people being divided along lines we have no business in being divided over.

    And Daniel, I did take it as a compliment, thank you very much for thinking of me. I just thought the inclusion of Ray Dean was a bit out of character with the others, as he sings in a group with a totally different style than say a Gold City, Dove Bros, or even Southern Sound.

  25. Well, I am probably the only person who hears it, but I hear a similarity to Hester in vocal timbre in a certain range–roughly from an octave below middle C to the D below that. Below low D, Hester’s voice quality is superior. πŸ™‚

  26. Ben, I’m glad you’re here.

    I must say this. . . you were superb with the “Masters V That Never Was”!

    Leave it to Charlie Waller to put such a group together.

  27. John, the Un-Original Master’s Five at GOGR was a hoot to say the least. I was thrilled to be a part of that 2 years running. I would be happy to do it again too, if Charlie would promise me never to do “Pray Is The Key”. It has been sung once already.

  28. Daniel I don’t think anyone was questioning that there may be a simialr timbre between David Hester and Ray Dean. I think the disconnect comes strictly from the style of bass each man sings. The Kingsmen were always considered the full enerhy, pedal to themetal kind of group, whereas the Dove Brothers have emerged over time as being a more polished type harmony. Once at GOGR while setting up sound for the concerts, I did have the distinct pleasure of hearing McCray sing lead with Southern Sound on an old classic, “The Galilean”. This was only during sound check but he did a good job!

  29. The folks that equate political affiliation with Christianity and gospel music just gripe my behind!

  30. Well now you have my attention, John! I think Christianity should be displayed in every aspect of life – including how you vote. But Ben’s right, this isn’t a political sight. Very interesting viewpoint, though, I must say.

  31. My Christian values are always foremost in my mind whether I’m voting or buying a cup of coffee.

  32. Tyler, this is my take on politics. There is nothing remotely Christian about politics. Like oil and water. And John, if I don’t get my morning coffee I break into a sweat with cold chills. πŸ™‚

  33. John, that’s good to hear.

    I would agree, Ben, that politics are often anything but Christian. However, some politicians are much more concerned with Christian morals than others are. I could never (as a Christian) justify for a pro-gay, anti-family, pro-abort candidate.

  34. Very interesting conversation here.
    Daniel, yes we crossposted. The comment I was agreeing to was the one from you that now is 3 above mine, about Bush and Kerry.

  35. Yes, Daniel…for some reason I inexplicably missed Ben’s inclusion here…my bad.

    As far as Ben the singer, musician, and person is concerned, I agree completely with the posted comments of John and Dean.

    And it was unfortunate that some tried to drag Ben into a discussion about politics…such irrelevant discussions in this sort of forum invariably create more heat than light/

    I didn’t think this topic could elicit 34 xomments in its own merits! LOL!

  36. I could definitely hear Ray Reese singing with the Dove Bros. Don’t put Ray down guys…he is an institution.

  37. I’ll join in on taking defense for Ben. Ben and I may be on opposite sides of the political fence, but so what? I’m extremely humbled to call him my friend. I believe that sometimes we let things such as politics dictate too much about a person. Some folks are spiritually convicted about things that we are not. If someone is passionate about what they believe in, then let them alone, agree to disagree, and just don’t worry about it. Some folks hold in their heart things that we just don’t agree with, but that doesn’t make them any less of a person or Christian.

    Ben Harris is a man I truly respect. Ben’s not only a great singer, arranger, and studio worker, but a fine, devout Christian man, and he has one of the finest quartets on the road today.


    Bass: Mike Holcomb
    Mike can do the low notes on “Stand By Me” a lot like Tim can, so I’d
    assume that he’d be perfect for them.
    Baritone: Jason Crabb
    You know where Doug hit those “soulful” notes on “Happy Rhythm”?
    I guess Jason would fit right in.
    Lead: Scotty Inman
    Scotty’s tall just like Ryan Seaton, so he’s a natural!
    Tenor: Jodi Hosterman
    Well…..I mean, there just shouldn’t be any need for an explanation
    here. He’s perfect.

  39. Now that’s just plain funny!

  40. The Gold City that never was…

    Dallas Rogers – kind of has that same cut and style that Brian Free and Steve Ladd have

    Bill Shivers – all around singer kind of like Ivan…strong lead singer

    Joseph Hadebank – has that round tone that somewhat reminds me of Trammell

    Jeff Chapman – if you listen to his recent recording, his tone is sounding more and more like Riley’s and he can hit the lows.

  41. I could go with all of those except Dallas Rogers. I just can’t see him doing the high, think GC-style tenor.

  42. But you could see Dallas with the Inspirations, right?
    Anyway, the more I think about it, I realize that Ray and Burman Porter are simillar in many ways. So yes, he kinda’ could fit in the mold of the ‘past’ Doves. However, I don’t notice the resemblence to David Hester.
    If you REALLY want someone who is simillar to David and could match or surpass him quality-wise, I strongley suggest picking Jim Stewart of the Pine Ridge Boys.


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