Personnel changes

Act I: Contrary to conventional wisdom, I’m not actually much of an inside baseball guy when it comes to personnel changes. People work with someone until they don’t and then they work with someone else (the more interesting question for me is how 9 out of 10 of these guys survive on the money most of these groups are paying; I was told a few weeks ago that a prominent singer with a top-tier quartet makes $25,000 a year … crikey … I struggled to get by on that 10 years ago as a single guy with very little debt).

So I ask this in all honest curiosity: assuming he isn’t getting dramatically more money in the bargain (and I am assuming that, but only because I don’t have any reason not to), what’s up with Harold Reed leaving the Florida Boys for the Kingsmen? These things are always subjective, to a great degree, but since the late ’80s, I would have pretty consistently thought of the FB as a notch or two above the KM. Certainly there’s less screaming and carrying on and general vocal histrionics involved with the Florida Boys, on the whole, and the sound is better all around.

Are Les (Beasley) and Glen (Alred) getting ready to park the bus and head home for good and the younger guys are getting out with due notice (remember, Gene McDonald recently left, though not to take another quartet gig)? Or is this just coincidental timing? Or the only place Reed could go without finding another line of work? Or something else I haven’t thought of?

Act II: Great Hornytoads! Tony Peace and Andrew Ishee working the same stage at the same time, willingly. Oughtn’t there to be fire codes or public nuisance laws against such combustible and abrasive personalities interacting for prolonged periods of time, and charging for it?

Act III: Like the Canaan Records deal, the demise of JBIF has been making the rounds in email for a while (hat tip, JB … and not, it’s not that JB). I don’t have much to say about it. The group always struck me as serially underwhelming: the way they presented themselves on stage always gave their act the feel of kind of native American minstrelsy-lite, and I never understood what all the hype was about the daughter’s songwriting. But most of all, the singing was just not good. Thus I note their dissolution for the record, and what it’s worth.

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  1. thom wrote:

    good grief - Ishee and Peace togther?! Are they calling it “the hyperactiviy tour sponsored by ritalin?” lol - Should be “fun” to say the least.

    Harold Ried is a fine tenor. The FLorida Boys sounded great with Gene MCDonald and Harold Reid. Probably the best they have sounded in the last 15 years. The Kingsmen are lucky to have Harold. Can’t wait to see them in concert with the new lineup.

  2. concerned wrote:

    There were rumours floating around that Harold was leaving for awhile. I’d hate to see the Florida Boys pack it up, but things don’t look great right now. I haven’t heard their new bass, but whoever took Gene’s place has big shoes to fill. Their website doesn’t mention the new bass at all. I look for Josh Garner to be next, and that will be a big blow to them, though I don’t think Reed or Garner will be as hard to replace as Gene.

    That being said, leaving for the Kingsmen seems like a strange move to me. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting back to North Carolina for Harold. According to the press release, he just moved back there from Florida.

  3. Eric Melton wrote:

    I have been reading your comments for quite some time. While some may be thought provoking just what accomplishments have you made in gospel music that makes you such an authority?

    What groups have you performed with or what major companies have you worked with where you have left a positive impact on gospel music or more importantly the kingdom of God.

    While Gospel Music has its share of problems like any industry does, why don’t you operate in Christian love as Jesus instructs us to do. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus I would more than happy to talk to you about that.

  4. GC11 wrote:

    I remember Harold when he was the Dixie Melody Boys at a concert in Florida say from the stage that he took pride in his rebel heritage…stating that he’s proud of the rebel flag…guess I haven’t been too high on him personally since then. He is a good tenor however.

  5. chuck stevens wrote:

    Harold Reid is not the high loud tenor we are used to with the Kingsmen tradition. I have not seen them in two years. I was glad to see Bryan Hutson come back to the group. I miss the Kingsmen in the two chords and a cloud of dust days.

  6. RNGfreckles wrote:

    So, have the Florida Boys found replacements yet? I’m sure that Doug will keep us in the loop on things. =+)

  7. Craig N. wrote:

    I dont know where to put this exactly but i wanted to let you know about something that i found out first hand and also say thank you. I went to a legacy five concert with my wife. the promoter announced that young harmony would be in town at a church the next evening. i had seen their pictures and billboards but really only knew them from this site. I told my wife that i would like to go to their concert because of what I read on here. we went expecting a joke basically. here is what i saw first hand at the concert.
    a young girl opened the concert with two songs and she was pretty good but with other peoples songs. the pastor introduced yh and everyone roared. i was a little shocked. there was about 350 or so there at the concert which was more than the legacy five concert had. the first song went better than i had expected. i was pleasantly surprised. as the concert went on by the third song we found ourselves in church. the songs were well written although i am sure that there are better songs out there. the vocals were above board especially jennifer which is jonathans wife. the vocal sound was equal to the quality of legacy five. the concert lasted one and a half hour and was great. just so you know you are the one that encouraged me to go and i felt a thank you should be sent. i now am a fan of yh. they are doing what god wants them to and he is using them. i dont know if you have ever been to hear them, but you should. we bought a 5 pack cd set from them. they are much better live. the cds havent captured them. i would like to see someone record something that captures them fully.

  8. cletis wrote:

    Craig N….

    Did you just say that YH’s vocals were equal to the quality of Legacy 5?…..hahahahaha!!!! Oh were you being serious?

  9. TonyWatson wrote:

    Butch Owens, formerly of the Stamps, is the new bass for the Florida Boys. From my understanding, they have not named a new tenor yet.

  10. Clay wrote:

    Greetings, Mr. Melton. I’m glad you’re reading.

    I hope you’ll take a gander through the long history of posts with comments attached throughout this blog. You’ll find many, many others who perceive things as you do and have attempted to bring Doug over to your (and their) way of thinking. Fact is, Doug’s doing a blog about something he is very passionate, and he’s attracted attention. Whether you and I like it or not, he’s changing the face of the industry from the outside, something that is very difficult to do. You, as one of his many detractors, are helping that to happen. But he’s found his niche, and though he is just as human as those inside the industry, he’s opened a door for dialogue.

    “Love” wasn’t originally what our westernized culture has made it. Love does not admonish one to coddle the thin-skinned. There is correction, often resulting in a bit of pain now and then, as well as reward. Doug provides a bit of both. And just as Roger Ebert’s Chicago employer proved that he was a better movie critic than he was a screenwriter (see Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, or rather, don’t!), Doug has admitted that his talents are in appreciating the quality of music rather than performing it. He has demonstrated his knowledge of music theory, which in itself qualifies him to discuss this topic. So enjoy reading Doug as he blogs, while keeping in mind that he is demonstrating his love for the art form by not succombing to pressure to paint a rosy picture where one doesn’t always exist.

    He’s saying things that many of us have known and have been pondering for ages.

  11. Trent wrote:

    Clay, very true. Avery has the ability to say–eloquently–exactly what you were feeling about a certain song, situation in the industry or group. I don’t always agree with him, but like a whole bunch of people involved in gospel music, I am addicted to this great site. It’s the first thing I check on the Web each day when I log on.

  12. Felicia wrote:

    Well said, Clay! Thank you putting the words out there that many of us have been struggling to find. There is this odd thing in Christendom where all reason is shut down or “trumped” whenever someone over-spiritualizes certain issues. You have spoken for many of us.

  13. Doc wrote:

    Jeremy leaves KM, Harold Leaves FB, And another Tenor buys a bus? What is wrong with SG Tenors?

  14. DM wrote:

    The Florida Boys who have been together so long are grouchy and sometimes really hard to get along with.

  15. Rod wrote:

    Clay…Incredible point…I was getting ready to ask Eric Melton if he was a preacher…Also Let me say this…Legacy five is really no better than many partime groups I have heard. The tenor is Ok, Scott Fowler is just above average at best, the baritone is horrible and the bass is just, how do I say it..There. They are alot like Ernie Haase and siganture sound. Take away the Cathedrals, the hype and stupid choreagraphy on EVERY song (EHSS) and you have Fair to average quartets. That was for you Cletis.

  16. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    Just so everyone knows, the “DM” above is not me! :)

  17. dkd wrote:

    Rod: Your comment regarding EHSSQ is exactly what I feel. Take away the hype, Gaither, & dancing shoes you have a moderately decent quartet. I haven’t heard L-5 in awhile so I can’t speak for their sound these days. I still think they would have to be better than SSQ. At least give them a high mark in the Class department. They don’t have to resort to all of the antic’s that EHSSQ is so known for. That is getting old and tired!

  18. jb wrote:

    I have to agree with the “average quartet” comment. There are alot of professional groups that when singing a solo, are just average singers, but, when you put the 4 parts together, they blend very well. I am an L5 fan and friend and I can say that I don’t think they are above the rest, but, I know they have the heart knowledge of who they sing about and that makes all the difference in the world. Some groups have “head knowledge” only and can really sing, but, you just feel entertained when you hear them.

  19. Jim2 wrote:

    I’m with you - after my home page, Avery is the first site I check every day. I work in the music business and find a refreshing point of view here that is logically and insightfully stated. I don’t have to agree with everything he writes, but his point of view is usually well thought out and sometimes I enjoy reading just for the vocabulary lesson!
    I’ve come to depend on Doug for his “not just the company line” viewpoint that you find on so many other SG websites and blogs - he’s the first one to say “hey, what’s that elephant doing in the living room” while the rest of the industry ignores it and tiptoes around the subject.

  20. Aaron Swain wrote:

    On the subject of the JBIF demise… they’re takin’ a break from the road and will decide at a later time whether to start back up or not.

  21. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Also, not every EHSSQ song has choreography along with it.. in fact, that’s only about 1/3 of their concert, and every concert is a guaranteed blessing!

  22. Payton wrote:


    I don’t personally see what’s wrong with Harold Reed, a southern born man, being proud of his “rebel” heritage, and/or the flag. I think it’s your sort of opinion that has allowed this political correctness to creep into our society and change things to please a very small amount of whiny people. I believe you would find many people in SG would concur with Harold. They don’t call it SOUTHERN gospel music for no reason. Just my opinion….

  23. Geno wrote:

    Amen to Clay. As to the Kingsmen, I think when they had Jerry Martin, Bryan Hutson, and Jonathan Parker, they were as good as any group I have heard. Unfortunately, they have not come close since. Maybe these changes will help. Also, Doug, I have heard a rumor that Anthony Facello may be putting together a group. Any truth to that?

  24. RF wrote:

    Count me among those who wishes what Geno said was true. I also hope includes Chris West, but I’m probably dreaming.

    On the Florida Boys, Gene and Harold seemed to be having a ball on stage with the oldsters (and I don’t mean Josh), so I assumed they were friends. Maybe when Gene left, it just wasn’t the same. Josh will probably be the next to go.

    Ishee and Peace? I can’t imagine the two of them together. They’re going to work Sundays at churches? The day job must be good.Tony needs to be with a quartet. I thought he added a lot to the Kingsmen.

    As for Legacy 5 sounding better than EHSSQ, I’ve never understood why people think that. I’ve always felt that Doug Anderson is one of the top baritones in sg. Ryan Seaton gets better all the time and Scott Fowler is really a great baritone, if you catch my drift. Glenn Dustin and Tim Duncan are about equal as basses. The only part L5 is a tad better in is at tenor, and only slightly. They’re both equally good. It’s so funny that conservative Christians just can’t get over the dancing. Like someone said, it’s only a few songs, but the enthusisam is there all the time with EHSSQ.

  25. Rod wrote:

    I will give kudos to L5…they have class and I believe some standards…I guess working with George and Glen made them who they are…I also take nothing away from artists who are sincere…Again I am just talking talent here.

  26. Chris wrote:

    To Rod:
    If talent makes a group, then explain the Inspirations. Most would agree the Cathedrals were the greatest of all time, but they weren’t even close to #1 for talent. Legacy is great because people love them and how they relate. Many talented groups would do well to figure out this equation.

    Concerning Harold:
    He’s a good buddy of mine and switching to be close to home and become part of a group with a future beyond the next 2 years. As far as low salary, many singers do work on more than that. I won’t divulge some of the trade secrets, but it does supplement the wage quite a bit. Remember, Harold’s not a flash in the pan tenor. He’s in it as a career and he’s going to a place where he feels he has at least a few more years, if not, decades.

  27. Rod wrote:

    Chris…MONEY…That’s your Inspirations explanation…Martin has plenty of it…Anyone with enough money in SG can buy it. Well up till now…This next generation will NEVER listen to it though…The days of the McKameys, Cooks, INspirations, etc. are over. There will be a few fans left but not many.

    CHrissss…TRADE SECRETS…Please!!! You either have money or not…You certainly can’t make it in this industry…I bet there is not one artist in a quartet making over $50,000 a year unless they own the group.

  28. Rod wrote:

    Also Chris…Let a group with L5’s talent (and sincerity) without the Cathedral background and I’ll show you the next partime group working on going fulltime. (For the next 10 years).

  29. KC wrote:

    So, where’d Jeremy Peace go?? I’m not real familar with the FB’s tenor, but to hear that Bryan Hutson is back on the road is a big plus for me. Someone kick Philip Hughes back to baritone and let Bryan do the lead. That’d be best for the group in my mind.

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