Thank you for your patience

The blog is back up and running. The problem that took it out for the afternoon was caused by the hosting company and was nothing I had any control over.

Thank you for your patience. I’ll get some observations posted as soon as I can. In the meantime, check out this article about the induction of Doug Oldham and the Hinsons into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

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Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet to record new album

In an email update mailed yesterday, Jerry Pilgrim of the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet announced that the quartet would be going into the studio in November and December to record what will be their first new project in about two years. (For those who care about such things, their project will be recorded at GAT3 Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina.)

This recording is an interesting case study in personnel turnover. Lead singer Wyatt Wilson is now the only group member who also appeared on the previous recording. The Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet that recorded Restoration in 2005 (a fine project, by the way), was tenor Robbie Hiner, lead Wyatt Wilson, baritone Jeff Stanley, and bass Jeff Pearles. Robbie Hiner is now an executive with Song Garden Music Group; Jeff Stanley has (according to the quartet’s most recent email update) accepted a position with Liberty University, and Jeff Pearles is now bass with the King’s Heralds Quartet, a group whose schedule is nearly entirely filled with Seventh-Day Adventist venues.

Two years later, as the quartet prepares for their sixth album, their lineup consists of former Legacy Five tenor Tony Jarman, lead singer Wyatt Wilson, newly joined baritone Ron Grimes, and bass Jerry Pilgrim.

Although the lead singer has still stayed the same, a group with this much personnel change has to effectively start over with every album, winning (or retaining) fans of previous versions of the quartet. But the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet has assembled a lineup of extremely talented men, and I have no doubt that they will be able to re-establish themselves as a quartet with a smooth blend and a trademark sound.

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On Liner Notes

Sometimes liner notes can be more interesting than the music they describe. It’s not that the music is boring or forgettable (usually); it’s that liner notes can get pretty interesting.

Liner notes, both today and back in the days when a 33 1/3 rpm record cover provided plenty of room for prolixity, often contain interesting facts about the group and stories about songs or about the recording process of the album. Production credits permit observers to trace musicians’ contributions to various albums.

Songwriter credits are also fascinating. With research, you can easily find whether songs introduced on a recording are entirely new or have been recorded before. One aspect of song credits common in other genres but usually (and unfortunately) omitted in Southern Gospel is listing the year a song was copyrighted; this can also send a signal as to whether the song is original to the project.

But, ironically, the most useful part of CD liner notes is frequently omitted.

First, some background: Some groups, such as Greater Vision and the McKameys, maintain a steady enough lineup for every Southern Gospel fan who so desires to easily remember the members of the group. But most Southern Gospel groups do not measure the duration of a particular lineup in decades.

Some Southern Gospel groups list group personnel in their liner notes. But many groups omit this information, even if they list all the other musicians who contributed to recording the album. While this omission is particularly conspicuous when it occurs in a project by a group with yearly turnover (like the Anchormen, Dixie Melody Boys, or Palmetto State Quartet), it is a problem anywhere.

It causes a problem for people who purchase CDs, tapes, or records of groups recorded before they personally became familiar with the group. Occasionally even the experts will have a hard time figuring out group personnel for a particular record.

Additionally, to just face the facts, quite a few casual Southern Gospel fans don’t read Singing News. Yet they will frequently purchase a group’s album when the group performs a concert at their church. Afterwards, when they open the CD and start listening to it, they might notice that a few of the people who appeared on the cover had left the group by the time they purchased the album.

While all the elements of a good set of liner notes are interesting, identifying the group members is simply too important to overlook.

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Booth Brothers launch new website

The Booth Brothers launched their new website during the National Quartet Convention. If the award wasn’t effectively determined by artist popularity, this website should be a serious contender for taking home the “Best Southern Gospel Website” award next year.

Of course, considering the rate with which the Booth Brothers are winning over new fans, their website might win the award anyhow.

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