“Love Lifted Me” – Mark Trammell Trio

Years ago, on the Kingsmen’s 1973 landmark live album Big & Live, they introduced their trademark rendition of the hymn “Love Lifted Me.” In my opinion, the arrangement on their 1981 Live Naturally album was even better.

I had been of the opinion that no group since has had the right combination of voices to pull off that arrangement…until I saw this.

And from the video notes, this was just the encore.

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43 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. I agree – I heard them sing this last Friday at the Mull Singing Convention in Sevierville. Their blend (especially Eric Phillips on the tenor) reminds me so much of the old Kingsmen sound. Incredible!

  2. All they need is a bass singer and a band…I hope all the groups out their take notice of the audiences response to this type of performance!

  3. I agree that a band would be a great addition. But I’m not convinced that a bass singer could make this particular song any better.

  4. What a great tribute to Jim Hamill and their ties to the Kingsmen!

  5. Has anybody checked out whether this is the same key as the old Kingsmen version(s)? (I think they were in B flat.)

  6. It’s one key lower, A-flat.

  7. Oh, and let me add–I think that is as much for Mark Trammell’s range as for Eric Phillips.

  8. One more question – I don’t profess to be able to hear this kind of thing very accurately. Would you say that, in either this version or the old one, Eric/Ernie are using falsetto? The old Ernie Phillips version sounds like falsetto to me, but I’m afraid of showing my ignorance, too…

  9. A-flat would be 2 keys lower Daniel. Two half steps. The falsetto argument is always funny. Die hard fans of brian free and eric phillips, jay parrack….will always argue it is not falsetto. It is a special placement that most cannot do well. These guys are good at it. It is not however, a full chest voice.

  10. Amy, I join quite a few other SG singers and writers in calling it “Head Voice.” As I understand, it involves using 1/4 of the voice box instead of none (as in true falsetto).

    Mark, you’re right, I should have been more careful in saying “one full step” or something like that.

  11. Whatever it is, I think those are the highest notes I’ve ever heard _anybody_ hit! 🙂

  12. Daniel, you are right. It is not a pure falsetto and few people can do it well. Some people aruge till they are blue that it is nothing more than a chest voice. as if singing with a half or head voice somehow is a bad thing. Not eveyone can do, some people love it……some don’t.

    I wasn’t trying to be picky on the key issue. It does make a difference if it is 1 or 2 notes lower though. It is amazing what a half step can do for a singer! Eric could probably do it in b flat though. I imagine Mark would not want to sing it much higher though!

  13. Yes, Mark sounded like he was toward the upper area of his range. Of course, I happen to think he sounds great in the upper area of his range, but I also think that that was about as high as he’d want to take the song. 🙂

  14. No, that isn’t falsetto…ernie and eric both have extremely rare ranges!

  15. Also, a good bass singer makes a great foundation for the other three parts!

  16. As I said above, I think the rendition is pretty good as it is. I could see how a bass singer would improve the song (and the group blend), but it would take one first-class bass singer to pull that off!

  17. Ray Dean Reese

  18. I like Ray Dean with the Kingsmen, but I’m just not sure I’d like him with the Mark Trammell Trio. He’s been with the Kingsmen so long that I can’t imagine them with another bass or him with another group.

  19. I don’t think any bass singer would sound right on that song…except for Ray. That is a Kingsmen song…even with MTT singing it, it is still a Kingsmen song (arrangement)…a very good song (arrangement).

  20. Maybe the bass singers from Old Paths or Kingdom Heirs might sound good.

  21. Those two would be good. How about Randy Byrd?

  22. I personally have not heard Randy Byrd live yet…from what I have heard on recordings, and it ain’t much, he sounds to me like a Bill Lyles or an early JD Sumner…which is good for what he is doing…he might sound ok on this, but I am not sure.

  23. Here are a couple of YouTube videos:


    (The audio isn’t great, but it’s decent.)

    And audio: http://www.blackwoodbrothers.com/store.htm (See item #3.)

  24. Thanks Daniel. Actually those are the recording I have already heard…

  25. OK.

  26. i don’t care who you are…that is stinkin awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Mark Trammel…what a voice. What a voice.

    I had a sudden urge to get up and dance around the room. 🙂

    Love lifted me!

  28. *Baptists–skip over this comment 😉 *

    If you’re not Baptist, go ahead and do it!

  29. That was awesome!

    I’m not sure, but I have heard that this particular arrangement of “Love Lifted Me” was done by Jim Humphreys of Charleston, WV, formerly of the Humphreys Family group and New Creations Quartet. Anyone know for sure?

  30. This is an arrangement from the Kingsmen Quartet.

  31. I think Levi was wondering if Jim Humphreys came up with the arrangement that the Kingsmen used.

    • This was an arrangement by the late Jim Humphries who recorded this on a rare live album with a group called the Calvarymen out of Charleston WV. Guess who the lead singer was, none other the Squire Parsons. They were the greatest thing I had ever seen live. Totally unbelievable, how they brought the Gospel in song.

  32. I don’t know about that…actually not sure who Jim Humphreys is…actually I believe it is one of Jim Hamill’s arrangements.

  33. Awesome! Live Naturally was (is) my favorite Kingsmen album. I closed my eyes and felt like I was transported back in time 27 years. Eric does sound a lot like his father. Ernie Phillips was my first SG hero. I remember as a 6-year-old singing along with him while listening to Love Lifted Me on our old record player.

    I will say, though, Mark nailed the solo.

  34. Re Jim Humphreys:
    He was the baritone with the Calvarymen Qt when Squire Parsons was the lead singer (prior to joining the Kingsmen)& Conrad Cook was the pianist (before he formed the Calvary Echoes).

  35. Mark Trammell is THE MOST under-rated singer in our genre. What a voice…what a range…what a singer! He’s always been one of my personal favorites. People don’t seem to realize what an awesome talent he is. I love me some Mark Trammell!

  36. yeh Mark is pretty good for an Arkie…an OLD arkie.

    some Baptist dance too…

    Scott ought to know. he took MT’s place and had to learn all his parts…I bet he listened to a bunch of Cat records.

    A good bass, always makes a gospel song better…ALWAYS.


  37. thanks for the post DM…enjoyed it all…and all of it.

  38. I was the baritone with the Calverymen Quartet, the last group I sang with was The New Creations Quartet. I sang “Love Lifted Me”, it was Jim Hamill’s arrangement. I am from South Charleston, West Virginia. This should clear up any questions regarding who I am and if I sang Love Lifted Me and any questions regarding the arrangement.

    • Thanks for that information!

  39. Mr. Humphries was a very humble man, he would never take credit for anything. His family still sings, and he is truly missed by all who knew him.

  40. Does anyone know if they still do this song since Pat Baker joined?

    • I wish! But they only ever did it for a few months.


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