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: