Monday, March 17, 2008

I like Southern Gospel sue me

I'm not sure how this happened. I mean I grew up in southern California. Nobody listens to southern gospel music in southern California. But somehow I got hooked on the music of the Blackwood Brothers, the Stamps Quartet, Gold City, the Cathedrals. Even the Oak Ridge Boys, although they abandoned gospel music for a while.

I'm fortunate to have seen several of these groups when they would come to town. Which wasn't that often because there's about 7 of us gospel quartet fans in southern California. Most of the real old-time greats have died, and I'm not sure their likes will be part of American music again.

I think what I draws me to these groups is the harmonies (of course), but also the messages of the songs. These groups sang songs about living a life of faith and the hope of eternal life to come. I find myself returning to this style of music again and again for encouragement and inspiration.

My favorite group was always the Statler Brothers. They mostly sang country music, but they never strayed far from their gospel roots. Why did I like them best? They wrote most of their own songs, and they were great storytellers. I'm a sucker for a great story. And, they could sing. Really sing. Which sets them apart from a lot of musicians today. They also used to put on a great 4th of July picnic in their hometown of Staunton, VA. We went one year, and it was spectacular.

Anyway, here they are doing a couple of gospel tunes. The actual singing starts at about 1:20, but before that, one of the Cathedrals (George Younce) tells a very sweet story about one of the Statler Brothers:

And now, so, Band Nanny and Michelle don't feel left out, here's another great quartet, the Oak Ridge Boys. (This is an early, early version of the group; three of these guys are no longer with the group. I like this lineup the best.) They were pretty awesome in their time:


Band Nanny said...

That clip of the Oaks appears to be prior to '66. That's when Duane Allen joined the group. Only William Lee Golden is in the video. Tommy Fairchild is behind the piano. His son Ron currently is the Oaks keyboard player. And he's been there for 30 years.

Did you know that the Statlers are going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. You should be proud.

Richard J said...

BN--I believe that's Smitty Gatlin singing lead. And I think the only still-living members of this version of the ORB are Golden and Willie Wynn. You know, we might know just a little too much about this stuff.

Is your hubby a fan? The Mighty Mrs. J just looks at me, glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, when I talk about this. I think she wonders what I'm talking about.

The Statlers seem like good people, so I'm glad they're being recognized. They did an interview on XM that's playing this week and nest. They've got some great stories...

Band Nanny said...

My hubby a fan of the current day Oaks?.. yep... one of his favorite things to do with them is hang out backstage.