SGMA announces 2008 Hall of Fame Inductees

The Southern Gospel Music Association announced its 2008 inductees to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They are:

  • Fred Daniel (Sunshine Boys/Blue Ridge Quartet). While I don’t know whether he was of Irish descent, his voice was reminiscent of an Irish Tenor’s voice, along the lines of Larry Ford. His vocal abilities made him a strong contributor to the groups with which he performed.
  • Polly Grimes (Concert Promoter).
  • Herschel Lester (Lesters). I believe Lester founded the Lesters, a family group still continuing today, decades (and several generations) later.
  • Squire Parsons (Songwriter/Kingsmen/Squire Parsons Trio). The longevity of both the singer (a 30+-year-career in the genre) and his most famous song (“Sweet Beulah Land”) make this a good selection.
  • Luther Presley (Songwriter). Author of numerous Southern Gospel classics, including “I’ll Have a New Life,” “Getting Ready to Leave This World,” “Crown Him King,” “Rocked on the Deep” (co-author), and “I’d Rather Have Jesus,”* Presley’s songs have definitely earned him this spot. (*This is not George Beverly Shea’s “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” as most recently done by the Crabb Family; this is a quartet song recorded by the Cathedrals in 1982, the Blue Ridge Quartet, the Gaither Homecoming choir, and other artists.)
  • Ray Dean Reese (Kingsmen). Anyone who has remained in a high-profile national group for as many years as Reese has–42 years (since about 1966)–has certainly earned their Hall of Fame induction.

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7 Letters to the Editor

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  1. It’s great to see Ray Reese getting some well-deserved recognition after all his years of service to gospel music. He has trully showed his dedication by the sacrifices he and his family have made to keep the Carolina Boys/Kingsmen going strong.

  2. Look at how many people have come and gone during the 42+ years of Ray Reese’s career. He has been the bass for one of the leading groups of the past four decades – often called a bass singers bass singer. Oh yea – he deserves this honor.


  3. I am so thrilled that Ray Reese is being inducted into the hall of fame. He surely deserves this award. I also love when they give these heroes this award when they are still with us!

  4. why is Ed Hill not on this list? Do you think “they” have an Elvis bias at the SGMA? I’m just asking. Don’t know.

    You would think a man that sung with JD and the Stamps for all those years; managed the Singing Americans (Michael English, Ivan Parker, Danny Funderburk, etc); sang with The Statesmen and Masters V; founded The Prophets (1959); AND coined the phrase, “Elvis has left the building”, would be in somebody’s Hall of Something!!!!

    Sheesh! What’cha gotta do?…or is it:
    WHO ya gotta know?

  5. I imagine he’ll be inducted eventually. Perhaps accomplishments outside the genre (i.e., Elvis-related) don’t make any difference towards an induction (don’t help and don’t hurt).

  6. GospelHog….are you a member of the SGMA?

  7. Larry, that’s always my response, too. Not everyone I would like to see in the hall of fame are there yet, but I know I keep my membership up to date and make my nominations each year.