Friday News Roundup #224

Worth Knowing

Worth Watching

Matt Fouch, known for both his On The Couch With Fouch series and for singing bass for Legacy Five, recently launched a podcast and video blog. In last week’s episode, here, he mentioned that he will include a news section each week. This provides one more option for fans wondering where to keep up with the latest news once this site retires.

Also worth watching: This the first video I’ve seen of the Down East Boys with new bass singer Joe Brinkley:

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Song Snapshots #32: He’s More than Just a Swear Word (Couriers, Blackwood Brothers, Collingsworth Family)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Neil Enloe’s father was a barber. He describes him as a “fun-loving, happy guy, who never had a sad day in his life.” But, Enloe recalls, “He loved his Lord, and he was dead serious about God. He was a great role model.”

“In his barber shop,” Enloe continues, “he could not stand to have the name of Jesus berated or blasphemed. In his shop, one wall had a sign, ‘No swearing, please.’ Another wall had a sign that said, ‘No profane language, please.’ My dad was a very crude person when it comes to design; he tore the flap off a cardboard box, and with a child’s crayon, he wrote a sign and thumb-tacked it to a third wall. And it said, and this one he made up, ‘A feller’s tougher who is not a cusser.’”

Enloe recalls the impact of his father’s stand: “So here I am, and going into my dad’s barber shop. In front of his customers, when they would blaspheme the name of the Lord, he would stop, mid-stroke, whether it was shaving, or cutting hair, or whatever, and he’d say, ‘Look, this is my Lord and my Savior, we don’t talk like that here.’ So at the expense of losing business, my dad stood up for his Lord, and that deeply impressed me as a little guy. So in the years that followed, I just decided to make a statement, too, and that’s where that song really came from, my childhood.”

The song was one of the most popular songs the Couriers ever introduced. It made the rounds in the 1970s; the Blackwood Brothers, Cathedrals, Dixie Echoes, Dixie Melody Boys, Downings, Florida Boys, Kingsmen, and Sego Brothers were among the groups who recorded it. After receiving little attention for decades, the song was recently brought back by the Collingsworth Family on their 2007 We Believe CD.

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The Need for Discipleship: A Sermon from Jeremy Peace

Old Paths tenor singer Jeremy Peace recently preached his first sermon, on the need for discipleship to be taking place in our churches. Peace, who sang with the Kingsmen prior to joining the Old Paths, also shares his testimony:

(Just to clear up any rumors: He has made it clear that he’s not leaving Southern Gospel. He only plans to preach on days when the group is not touring.)

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NQC 2013, Day 3: Live Blog

Far and away, this evening’s program has been the strongest so far. In fact, this evening has had so many highlights that it will be rather hard for the days later in the week to top it.

Perhaps a much better attendance has energized the performers. @jon_leighton posted this picture on Twitter, commenting: “ironically,  a huge crowd on quartet night at quartet convention!”

I missed the first three hours; I was at my church’s Wednesday night service. My siblings, who live across the country and don’t have a midweek service, provided our coverage of the first three hours. 

Highlight of the Night

The moment of the night was the retirement performance of The Couriers. It was the final time most of the people in the audience or watching the webcast will see these legends live and in person; they have announced that their final performance is later this year.

One song into their set, the Mark Trammell Quartet sang one of The Couriers’ signature songs, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” Mark then talked about how he had seen the Couriers for the first time at NQC 1974, and talked about the impact they had on their fellow performers, on the fans, and on his life.

Then Mark said that the Couriers—Duane Nicholson, Neil Enloe, and Dave Kyllonen—were there, and he was going to call them up on stage. The artists in the artist circle, surrounding the stage, stood for a standing ovation.

If the audience had any clue what was coming next, the audience would have joined them.

Gerald Wolfe and Jim Brady join Mark to present The Couriers with plaques from the National Quartet Convention thanking them for their years of faithful service and integrity and commemorating their retirement, coming later this year.

Mark Trammell introduced “Statue of Liberty” with these words: “As we pay tribute to the fallen heroes tonight on 9/11, I want to pay tribute to living heroes who show us how to do what we do with grace style character, and integrity.” The Couriers sang most of the song; the Mark Trammell Quartet joined them for the dramatic final choruses.

The audience stood throughout much of the song. Based on the video feed, it looked like there wasn’t a person in Freedom Hall still in their seat by the midpoint of the song. After the song, the standing ovation was enthusiastic and prolonged. It was as if the audience didn’t want to sit down because they didn’t want that moment to end.

Mark Trammell deserves credit for giving up most of his set for this moment. The Couriers deserved this moment—their NQC retirement, and probably their final appearance at a major venue. (Their retirement concert is in two or three months.) It was the final moment most of the people in the room and watching the webcast will get to see them live, and thanks to this, they went out in grand style.

This is one of those NQC moments fans will still be talking about in ten or twenty years.

Other Highlights

My siblings noted these highlights from the first three hours.

  • The Booth Brothers Quartet (see 5:56)
  • The Quartet Choir (see 5:53)
  • The Basses Quartet (see 6:51)
  • Quartet Gilead of Rio De Verde, Brazil (7:17)

I picked up around 8:30. These are the highlights from 8:30 on:

  • The Couriers’ final NQC performance (see above).
  • Legacy Five singing “We Shall See Jesus” (10:22). Of all the times I’ve seen them stage the song, this was easily the best. They had a tough act to follow—the moment of the night, the Couriers’ retirement performance. It’s hard to turn around from that into another evening highlight, but they pulled it off. For about a dozen years after Glen Payne’s death, no major group was willing to touch the song, but, as Fowler said, “the song is too good to die.”
  • The Confused Quartet (8:35): Jeff Easter on tenor, Scott Howard on lead, Arthur Rice on baritone, Mark Trammell on bass, and Gerald Wolfe on piano. This was a highlight for comedic reasons; Easter did a brilliant Kingsmen tenor impression.
  • All-Star Quartet (8:58): On the other hand, this was a highlight for musical reasons. Riley Clark, Clayton Inman, Mark Trammell, and Jeff Chapman did an outstanding rendition of “Glory Road.”
  • The Old Paths set: They’ve had two #1 hits within the last year, and those songs carried their debut NQC appearance.
  • The Kingdom Heirs set was perfectly paced.
  • Triumphant was a great pick to close the night. Their set just kept getting better and better, and they were tearing Louisville up by the last two songs. Clayton Inman reprised his classic Singing Americans feature on “Welcome to Heaven.” And when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they pulled their best fast song—a song a few too many fans have forgotten—out of their back pocket, “I Know I’m Going Home.”

Live Play-by-Play

Click “Read More” to read the entire play-by-play; it’s hidden from the home page for space considerations.

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Song Snapshots #28: Ordinary Man

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Several months after Joseph Habedank joined The Perrys, Joel Lindsey invited him to Nashville to co-write songs together. “Joel was the first person to bring me to Nashville to write,” Joseph recalls. “I was eighteen years old. It’s been almost ten years ago.”

One day, they met at Daywind to work on a different song. After they worked on it for a while, Joel said, “I’ve got another idea,” and brought up the idea for “Ordinary Man.” The Booth Brothers were looking for songs at the time, and Joel and Joseph wrote the song with them in mind. (They passed on the song.)

It ultimately took five or six years for the song to get cut. At the time Joel and Joseph wrote the song, it probably would not have occurred to anyone to pitch it to the Kingsmen. But in April 2008, they released a CD entitled When God Ran; its title track became a #1 hit in February 2009.

Joseph Habedank recalls that he was surprised when he heard that The Kingsmen had cut “Ordinary Man”; “It’s not what you think if when you think of the Kingsmen.” But, he added, it made more context in light of “When God Ran”—“That song was an old Contemporary Christian song from back in the ‘80s. In that light, I could understand why they cut it.”

 

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Saturday News Roundup #184

Worth Knowing

  • The Diplomats’ Corey Pearson was taken to the emergency room after a bad accident yesterday. He had injuries to his face, his knuckles, and his ankle; the ankle injury was “a separated bone from the ligaments in my ankle.” Yet, after a night at the emergency room, he was released in time to appear at the remainder of the weekend’s concerts.
  • Former Florida Boys tenor Rick Busby announced on Facebook that he has accepted the pastorate of McBean Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Georgia.
  • Former Cathedrals baritone/pianist George Amon Webster has been battling cancer (updates here and here). Bryan Hutson, who traveled with him in the Heartland Boys, posted on Facebook that the cancer has taken a turn for the worse, and Webster has been taken to hospice.
  • Beyond the Ashes baritone Tyler Vestal has moved over to play keyboards full-time, to make room for new baritone Casey Shepherd. Here’s a video of Shepherd imitating Vestal Goodman
  • Friends of Tracy Stuffle are launching a website, www.southerngospelcares.com, to offer various ways to help with medical expenses of his stroke recovery.
  • Meanwhile, Tracy Stuffle’s ability to speak and even sing is returning. Here’s a video of him thanking friends for their prayers and support, and a video of him singing “God is So Good.”
  • UPDATE, 12 noon: John Rulapaugh offered his comments on Josh Garner’s departure from Freedom:

    “To quell the rumors and speculation concerning my future and that of Freedom – Josh Garner is and always will be one of my very best friends. It is with great sadness that I have to accept that he will be moving on to sing with the Dixie Melody Boys. Quite simply, Freedom does not keep a heavy enough touring schedule to allow us to make a living from it. The Lord has blessed Jennifer and I in our business, but anyone in business knows that you either run your business or your business will run away from you. For this reason my touring schedule has been and must remain limited. That does not mean that I am going to have to stop singing, or that this is the end of Freedom. I have been overwhelmed with the response and interest from those interested in coming to sing with Freedom! I am blessed and encouraged by those who have encouraged me to “keep on keeping on” and that is exactly what I intend to do.

    I am not one for hasty decisions, nor am I compelled to issue a press release for the purpose of reporting that there is nothing to tell you. As I continue the search for someone to sing in Josh’s absence I recognize the fact that there can truly be no replacement. I appreciate your continued support and covet your prayers as I carefully consider and look forward the future.”

Worth Watching

There will always be a contingent of Kingsmen fans who think it’s not really, fully the classic Kingsmen sound unless there’s live piano being played. Especially in that light, it’s interesting to note that tenor Chris Jenkins has started playing piano on several songs in the Kingsmen programs. Baritone Randy Crawford adds a bass guitar.

Playing piano and doing the incredibly high tenor vocal runs on “Glory Road”—now that takes some serious talent and multi-tasking ability!

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Saturday News Roundup #183

Worth Knowing

  • The Down East Boys suffered a devastating bus fire on Thursday. A Facebook update from baritone Daryl Paschal indicates that, apart from the totaled bus, the fire also destroyed $12,000-$15,000 of sound equipment. This forced a cancellation of Thursday’s date, but they were able to arrange alternate transportation for the remainder of their weekend’s dates.
  • The Daryl Williams Trio was in the studio this week. A Facebook status update from Shannon Knight, who sang with the trio in the past and recently released a solo project through Crossroads’ Skyland imprint, indicates that he will be on the project, as will recent Gold City tenor Brent Mitchell.
  • Beyond the Ashes had a bus fire last Saturday, July 27th. The fire, which was started by a stuck brake, was resolved without much damage thanks to a prompt response by the Atlanta Fire Department. In an eery coincidence, this fire came two years, almost to the date, after a major July 31st, 2011 bus fire that severely damaged their bus.
  • Kingsmen bass singer/emcee Ray Dean Reese’s wife Carolyn suffered a fall last Thursday that resulted in surgery last Friday to repair a fractured elbow. She is expected to recover, but complications including arthritis will make the recovery longer and more difficult than usual.
  • Tracy Stuffle continues to improve in his stroke recovery; he is speaking more clearly and eating more puréed food.

Worth Watching

Here’s an all-star lineup of the Rebels Quartet—founding Booth Brothers member Ronnie Booth Sr. on tenor, Jim Hamill on lead, John Matthews on baritone, legend-in-the-making London Parris on bass, and and Little Jimmy Taylor on piano:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Song Snapshots #27: That’s All I Need

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Joseph Habedank had the idea for “That’s All I Need” on a Singing at Sea cruise in 2009 or 2010. “I just had this chorus going in my head,” he recalls, “and I thought, ‘Nothing will ever come of that. It’s too traditional, it’s too quartety.’”

He sang the song for his fianceé Lindsay. (She is now his wife). She said, “I actually think that could be good.”

He said, “Yeah, but it’s so traditional!”

She replied, “Well, just keep working on it.”

So he kept working on the song; he would write it while driving from his home in Nashville to visit Lindsay at her home in Kingsport, Tennessee.

He wrote it with his own group, The Perrys, in mind. “Troy Peach was with us at the time,” Joseph remembers; “He wanted to cut that song. And it just didn’t work out; he couldn’t convince the rest of the group to cut it. And then the Kingsmen cut it, and had a #1 with it!” It was his second #1 hit, and the first he’d written by himself.

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Ray Dean Reese’s cancer in remission

Almost two years ago, in August 2011, Ray Dean Reese was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had surgery in October 2011 and has been undergoing treatment since. Reese has been informed that the cancer is in remission and that no further treatment is necessary at this time. He comments:

First of all, I would like to thank God for His healing touch. Also, I say a special thank you to friends all over the world for praying for me during this time. We always pray for God’s will to be done in our lives. I will continue to have scheduled check-ups, the next of which is scheduled for June 2013. I am fully trusting and believing that there will continue to be no signs of cancer.  Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I go forward.

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Saturday News Roundup #163

Worth Knowing

  • The Akins have found a booking agent, joining the Dominion Agency.
  • Noted songwriter Belinda Smith has signed with Daywind Music Publishing.
  • Worth Reading: Don’t miss Danny Jones’ recounting of the one and only time the Booth Brothers and the Cathedrals appeared together in concert.
  • Worth Reading: Fuson’s Findings’ in-depth review of a classic The Sound project.

Worth Watching

At a recent concert date in Texas, a ladies’ choreography group opening for the Perrys did a choreography routine to one of their songs. The Perrys hear their song being done, come out, and epic spontaneous choreography ensues. (Even a moonwalk.)

At a recent Kingsmen concert, former tenor Johnny Parrack—the original tenor on the 1973 Big & Live version—came up. Here’s what he sounds like today:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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