Wednesday’s mini-report

With apologies to the Carpetbagger report (whose mini-report idea I’m shamelessly ripping off), a roundup of stuff that doesn’t rise to a stand-alone post but seems worth mentioning anyway.

*From reader DC: “Watching Tony Peace today and he played a ridiculous song called “I lost my wife at Walmart.” Is this Southern Gospel? What a redneck ridiculous song and no wonder so many people look down on Southerners with such crap as this.”

*From reader DY: More evidence that iTunes is as much a part of the problem as the solution when it comes to white gospel music. “iTunes lists Vestal Goodman as Pop.” Oh my.

*Vanishing acts: Reader MF notes that the Cumberland Quartet is gone from Silver Dollar City – and the web – and some of its erstwhile members have regrouped as the unlovely-named Spoken 4 Quartet (2 Good 2 Miss! The Only 1 to hear!).

*Partially Vanishing Acts: I see in Chuck Peters’ ShowPrep that Crossway is now a trio. It’s been changeful times lately for artists under the management of Kathy Crabb’s Big Ten Entertainment. Nevermind the Big Ten fleet will be without a flagship when the Crabb Family retires later this year. All the down-roster artists have struggled of late too: The McRaes dissolved and re-built what was left with Troy and Katy Peach (what’s left of First Love) to form TK & McCraes, which promptly turned around the changed its name to TK & McCrae (guess they took DBM’s advice). The Mike Bowling Group lost everybody but Mike Bowling and re-formed as Mike and Kelly Bowling when the latter joined her husband (and/but it’s a trio). And now I see (also in Chuck Peters’ ShowPrep) that Crossway’s bass is out and the group is not replacing him, even though they’ve had a new project (recorded as a quaretet) that I gather has been finished and waiting to be released for a little while now (our latest project: four voices for the price of three!).

*More from the ShowPrep: looks like the Carnegie Hall gig long promised from American Gospel Music is going to happen. And that the Collingsworthy Family is the latest group to submit themselves to the spiritual certification process AGM requires of its artists. Chuck Peters quotes Phil Collingsworth as saying We are currently in the middle of the certification process.” (Is there fasting involved? Sack cloth and ashes? A test? Certification question No. 53: Name the shortest verse in the bible. No. 21: What is the SN’s current policy on male facial hair? No. 74: Finish the sentence: “We have a limited supply at our table, and when that limited supply is gone ….”). Anyway, sgreporter says the Collingsworth Family, the Hoppers, the Ruppes, and Integriphant (along with a choir) will comprise the line up for the Carnegie Hall affair.

*Back to personnel changes and recording albums, reader DL notes that Rick Strickland has joined the American Quartet right in the middle of their recording a project. “The quartet is scheduled back into the studio March 3rd in which Rick will finish the project for the final 4 selections left to record,” the group’s website rather ungrammatically reports. DL finds this interesting (for nongrammatical reasons): “Outside of a ‘favorites’ compilation, I don’t recall two tenors on one project. I’ve never heard of this group, and I’m no big fan of Strickland, but I may buy this CD just out of curiosity.” SG’s very own Two Tenors!

*Finally, via David Bruce Murray, a Billboard piece on indie labels in Christian music. SG’s Wayne Haun and Kevin Ward get a nice treatment for their upstart Vine Records. I’ve been calling this kind of recording company a boutique label, but by whatever name, I’m glad to see this trend getting the recognition it deserves.

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  1. Kyle wrote:

    Funny you should mention the two tenors deal.

    In 1973, the Oak Ridge Boys started work on their first album with Columbia Records (self-titled) with Willie Wynn still in the group. “The Baptism Of Jesse Taylor” and “Why Me” both had Wynn on the cut, among other titles. But Wynn left the group around mid-’73, with much (if not all) of the album finished. This left the Oaks with a completed album, but one of the voices gone.

    Joe Bonsall joined in October of ‘73, and almost immediately, recut one of Willie’s leads (”What A Time We Will Have Over There”), but the rest of the cuts were merely overdubbed, or not touched at all.

    On some songs, you can actually hear both Joe and Willie on the same track! Good examples of this are “Put Your Arms Around Me Blessed Jesus,” “Why Me,” and “He’s Gonna Smile On Me.” Other songs on that album, like “Loves Me Like A Rock” and “Give Me A Star,” have only Willie on the track.

    If you listen to the vocal mixes, it sounds like Joe cut two vocal tracks and split the mix far left and far right, while what was left of Willie’s tracks was mixed to the middle.

    I think a couple of the songs were completely new cuts to replace the ones that were eliminated when Willie left (”He” and “Freedom For The Stallion,” as these are more contemporary-sounding than the rest of the album and Joe’s voice is much stronger in the mix).

    One song was recorded, but cut from the final project because Willie was such a prominent part. “Joy Comes In The Morning” (the Gaither tune) was later released by Columbia, and is still available on some of the ORB bargain gospel CD’s at Wal-Mart, but it wasn’t something that Joe could easily just overdub. It’s also probably one of the best Oak Ridge Boys gospel tunes (their rendition is noticably faster than most arrangements).

    It’s pretty interesting to listen to, especially considering that just the previous year, Richard Sterban had completely replaced all of Noel Fox’s vocals on their Dove-winning album, “Street Gospel,” giving a complete album with the most recent line up at that time.

  2. Tony Watson wrote:

    In regard to 2 tenors on one project - I remember one back in the 80’s with the Singing Americans with Rick Strickland himself. He sang all of it and then Phil Barker replaced him during the process and sang most of his solo parts - though on “God Is Higher”, you can hear Rick on the first 2/3 of it until the last “GOD IS HIGHERRRRRRRRRRR” which is Phil.

  3. Kyle wrote:

    I am also convinced that David Phelps remains on at least part of the “Give It Away” project, as it was started while he was still with the GVB…

  4. Trent wrote:

    “I Lost My Wife At Walmart” is actually a Mark Bishop song, which he performs in concert every night to much laughter & applause. His other big novelty song right now is called “Bottled Water”, which he also wrote.

  5. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Is there any form of humor other than Southern humor?

  6. Blueboy wrote:

    Regarding the song, ” I Lost My Wife at Walmart, ” DC saw it on the Tony Peace Gospel Hour that airs in Atlanta. I did too. Actually Tony mentioned as he introduced the song that this was a requested song from viewers that write and call in to his show. Tony plays a broad variety of SGM, Christian, and black gospel on his show. I think the idea is that his audience is so broad in Atlanta he wants to present something for everybody. Maybe this was not the best song ever aired on the show, but for the most part his choice of artist and song selection are top notch.

  7. Dean Adkins wrote:

    The Harvesters LP “I Saw A Man” has Jay Simmons singing bass on 6 songs & Bob Thacker (who replaced him) singing the other 6.

  8. Grigs wrote:

    Thank you to Kyle. I’ve been wondering who was singing what on those Oaks songs for almost ten years…since I bought a bargain basement cassette at Wal Mart! “What A Time We Will Have Over There” is as high as I’ve heard Joe sing.

  9. Canuk wrote:

    Kyle- I am interested to know which songs on “Give It Away” you think include Phelps. I think it was pretty clear from the studio discussion on the “Give It Away” DVD that GVB had planned for a new album while Phelps was still around, but did not really get any good ideas or record anything until Wes started.
    I am convinced you are wrong :D

  10. Kyle wrote:


    It’s hard to tell sometimes anyway, since Guy has a habit of overdubbing parts anyway, but I am pretty sure that Phelps is present, at least faintly, in “Through.” But since the GVB doesn’t release performance tracks with BGV’s anymore, it’s really hard to tell. Come to think of it, I wonder if people listened to those BGV-only tracks and started to catch on to Guy’s fairly-large vocal presence…

    Grigs, if you think that’s the highest he’s sung, theck out

  11. burt wrote:

    Phelps is definately on the Give it Away album.

    GVB had already recorded all the tracks before Wes even started. I saw this on the Mark Lowery show (internet). Also, yes, Guy Penrod overdubs…mucho. Listen to the Lovin’ God Lovin’ Each Other Album sometimes.

  12. Canuk wrote:

    Interesting…for those of us who aren’t so studio savvy (probably just me :) ) what is meant by overdubbing…what is it that I’m supposed to be listening for?

    burt- Which Mark Lowry show was it? What number?

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    As Kyle knows, Joe hits a high E above high C on the end of “I’m Winging My Way Back Home”. As far as What A Time We Will Have Over There, the live version that was on a promo 45 released to radio at the time is much better. Joe was reportedly nervous during the studio cut and is obviously not getting into it as he normally would.

    Overdubbing in its most basic sense is recording a part separately from the rest, which has been done for years. In other words, unless all instruments and vocalists recorded it live together and never corrected anything, overdubbing has occurred. It could be correcting one note, adding instruments, recording separately or what have you. Kyle is more referring to Guy singing his part and then going back and singing more harmony on the other song as well.

    It isn’t two tenors, but the Oaks first lp with Duane Allen had his predecessor Smitty Gatlin on part and Duane on others. (Skylite label Sings River Of Life.)
    Kyle mentioned Street Gospel. There was another Oaks lp around the same time that had both singers. It was Lighthouse and other Gospel Hits. It was on Vista and all but one cut had not been released before. Some were recorded prior to Sterban joining. I can’t recall any with Harper, but it has been years since I listened to it. I think the song Since Jesus Came In was added to make 10 cuts, otherwise all the other songs were either new or unreleased prior.

    I suspect it and Super Gospel were done because the Oaks had moved on to Columbia and they were scrounging for new material. I also suspect this stuff was stuff turned down for release on the other albums due to various reasons.

    Duane once said that the Oaks had cut Because He Lives (or at least attempted), but never could find a good arrangement. However, when Joe joined it was one of his first features (I think he had sung it with the Keystones maybe.) There was rumored to be a single released of it, but I have never seen it.

    Joy Comes In The Morning was a great Sterban lead and Willie’s part is a big part of the song. However, if I had to choose their absolute best on CBS, there are others that would win including Look Away Mama and Don’t Be Late (co-written by Eddie Rabbit.) Neither were on an album, but both were B sides on commercial singles.

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