Video of the Day: 1957 Weatherfords

Dean Adkins just uploaded a priceless gem to YouTube:

Glen Payne (lead), Armond Morales (bass), and Lily Fern Weatherford (alto) have the solos; Earl Weatherford (with the handlebar mustache) joins in at the baritone part. This early Weatherfords footage, from the same lineup that recorded the landmark album In the Garden two years later, is the earliest Weatherfords footage—and earliest Glen Payne footage—that I have ever seen.

Compare Payne’s voice in 1957 with his voice forty years later in 1997. It reveals utterly remarkable consistency throughout his career.

Oh, and an extra bonus: Once you’ve watched it several times to soak in the rich perfection of the performance, watch it one more time and focus on the expression on the choir members’ faces. The expression of the young lady with blond hair right past Glen Payne’s shoulder is particularly intriguing.


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37 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. Oh my! That’s incredibly awesome! Thanks for sharing! Glen was so smooth!

    • You’re welcome, but most of the thanks go to Dean for somehow finding this.

  2. Thank you so very much! This is absolutely marvelous! What a treasure!

  3. Incredible! The best part of this video is that it is all ….natural. No stacks, tracks or overdubs. Four voices and a piano, just incredible. These kinds of videos and footage should be required viewing for anyone trying to start a group. If you can sing like this then you will be a success. Thanks Dean and Daniel.

    • So true, and you’re welcome!

  4. More please??????????

  5. Listened to it twice. The first thing that I noticed was that Glenn Payne’s voice did carry much of its strength over the course of his life; unmistakable quality. The second thing was, how smoothly the voices blended. This does not come from sheer talent, but over hours and hours of work and honing the skills that God blessed them with. Don’t see much of that in Gospel music today. Most of it is “how loud can we get, and who can out sing the next.” As has been stated, this was done without the benefit of the whizz-bang computers and mixers that are available today; and still the quality of the 53 year old recording would hold its own with anything and anyone today.

    The choir? They must have been coached to not show any sign of emotion. They could have been the cardboard cutouts that movie makers use to fill out a crowd scene. I’m not too sure that they weren’t. LOL

  6. We Couriers worked many dates with this Weatherford grouping of singers. They were indeed a delight. I didn’t recognize the pianist though.
    Just wondering why Armond didn’t go back down to “Do” (or root) on the very last note.

    • I guess he got tired of ending on the root and decided to try the fifth. 😉

    • I hadn’t realized that you got onto the Southern Gospel circuit soon enough to work dates with this group. Wow!

  7. The reason he stayed up on the fifth was for the sake of the arrangement. The piano already had the root in the bass…so why not keep the bass singer where he was already headed!

  8. It makes his part more of a second baritone part…I kind of like it! Gives it a feel of what the GVB does now (of course with out Bill’s bass).

  9. Dean, you amaze me how you keep finding these rare videos.

  10. Wow, this is “creme de la creme”!! I’d go a long way to hear this lineup (I only wish that were even a possibility)! Thanks so much for posting this gem, Daniel.

  11. This was absolutely stunning… I would love to see more from this video!

  12. Thanks for the clip, Daniel and Dean! Solid vocals, harmony, and lyrics… excellent!

  13. The Weatherfords are insane. Soooooo good. THAT is singing.

  14. WOW! Those guys were awesome! No stacked vocals back then, just flat footed singing. I love it!

  15. I think I’ve watched this about three times now. Still awesome! We’ll see how many more times it takes me to finally get tired of it…

  16. I love the look on Earl’s face @2:55!

  17. If he’s reading, I’d love to know where Dean found this. Great stuff!

  18. I LOVE this! More Weatherfords, please.

    • It’s an honor for you to stop by!

      • Now Dean has to find more! 😀

  19. Fantastical!!! This is the way all Southern Gospel groups ought to do it. That’s one reason the Dixie Echoes are my favorite real-time quartet. I heard them only last week in Memphis. They sang around two mics, had the terrific Stewart Varnado at the keyboard, and Randy Shelnut,Jr. playing bass on a few of them. Plus their brand-new 19 year-old bass singer, Trent Adams. He is totally awesome–unbelievable for a young man his age. Thanks for such a great video as the old-time Weatherfords. God bless you all.

  20. OH, my…back in time I go, to the Fabulous Fifties (my childhood…I promise!), when this was the sound of Gospel Music. It wasn’t called “southern” then…just Gospel. No wonder people of my era became such elitists – with singing like that, diction like that, blending like that, vocals out front like that, simply beautiful piano accompaniment, and those beautiful arrangements with the lush chords. Terry Franklin…it’s in your soul, Hon, even though you are too young to have lived it when I did – because you were RAISED on it. And to borrow from a wonderful old hymn title, OH, say, but I’m glad! What a treat this was! Glen…you were NEVER anything but great, all the way to singing from your hospital bed to the NQC audience. (Yes, I talk to him when I want to.) Dianne.

    • If anyone has earned that right, you have.

  21. Thanks to our Tennessee friend, Larry Evans, quartet member of “The Father’s Four”, for sending this incredibly wonderful video to us in Ohio. What memories were renewed of our families’ many trips to Rex Humbard’s huge, beautiful “Cathedral of Tomorrow” in Akron, OH, as well as the live, weekly TV programs, which featured “The Weatherfords”. What enjoyment we were blessed with for many years! I was privileged to talk with the quartet members on occasion. Armond Morales was a nice, approachable young man, with a great smile. Years later with the Imperials, he was the same. 1957, I graduated from high school and was employed in downtown, Cleveland, OH. I had a few thrilling lunch hours, when I saw Rex Humbard and the quartet on the street. Weekdays they would come to the city for TV appearances. Glen Payne’s fabulous wedding took place on a Sunday morning at the “Cathedral of Tomorrow” and was televised. Several years ago, we enjoyed Lily Fern’s trio, with her son, at a Canton, OH, concert. She was still the beautiful, gracious, friendly, great singer and lady. Of course, gospel quartet fans will always remember Glen Payne and “The Cathedrals”. More wonderful, wonderful memories!
    Mr. Mount, THANK YOU, so much for posting this awesome video!
    Genell and John Homner

  22. I absolutely love this video!! Glen has always been the best in my book. However I thought when he was younger maybe he was not as AWESOME. This video proves that he has always been great. Thanks Daniel & Dean.

    J. C.

    • Yes, it does! I have this sneaking suspicion that he was top of the line even as a young first tenor.

  23. Not only is the voice the same, his mannerisms and expressions are the same. Like that gesture he makes with his right hand at :43. He did that all his life!

  24. Glen said he thought this group was as good any ever assembled. Glen Payne was the best. His vocals, consistency, stage presence, and the ability to get the most out of a song made him the driving force behind groups such as the Weatherfords and the Cathedrals. He made those around him better.