Florida Boys, RIP

I was just about to sit down and write a short post noting that evidently the Florida Boys had bumped lead Josh Garner up to tenor and Les Beasley was singing lead in wake of Harold Reed’s recent departure (if you’ve heard a certain bootleg audio clip of Beasley from a NQC performance a while back – it’s just Beasley’s voice alone, isolated from the rest of the ensemble, and it’s become something of a minor cult classic – you’ll know why this arrangement is not any way for the FBs to go out with dignity). And just as I was getting ready to write, well, I guess it turns out the FBs are calling it quits. If my email is any indication, promoters and venues are getting calls from the Harper Agency cancelling the FBs gigs.

If this is the end, it’s probably for the best. Theirs is a great name with a long tradition of often good music that bequeaths a fairly substantial legacy to gospel and Christian music. Sometimes, it takes just as much (or more) courage to call it quits when the only other viable choice is to invest enormously in rebuilding an organization that, in this case, would probably not have regained its once great stature in Beasley’s and Glen Allred’s lifetime. So, considering the lilies, farewell, then, to the Florida Boys.

Update: Looks the Harper Agency confirms the retirement here (though their link is bummed). Daniel Mount has a short note from Beasley here (though in a fit of nostalgia Mount makes the neaerly delusional claim that the FBs are going out on the top of their game. McDonald’s gone, Reed’s gone, and Beasley’s singing lead. Top of their game? Huh?)

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Trackbacks & Pings

  1. SOUTHERN GOSPEL CRITIQUE… » Blog Archive » Florida Boys retiring?!?!? on 12 Jun 2007 at 5:40 pm

    […] According to averyfineline.com, the FBs are calling it quits.  I can’t say that I blame them after losing both their bass and tenor singers.  If this is the case, then they will surely be missed. […]

  2. www.southerngospelblog.com » Blog Archive » Florida Boys retiring? on 12 Jun 2007 at 5:51 pm

    […] So says Averyfineline. I’ll post more when I know more. […]


  1. ST wrote:

    This is understandable, but I hate it for the bass singer who just started with sometime in March. He is a retired police officer and has wanted to sing in the professional circuit for a long time. However, his job hindered him. He finally retired from police work and was free to go. A few years ago he tried out and got a position with the Anchormen, but could not stick with it due to his retirement date in police work got messed up.

  2. LSJ wrote:

    Aww, makes me sad. The Florida Boys have been one of my favorite groups since I first discovered SoGo. And, having found my parents’ old record collection, they were apparently one of their favorites, too. Farewell to a great group.

  3. Mary wrote:

    Who was the former police officer who sang bass?

  4. RF wrote:

    Sad, but expected. I really thought the addition of Harold Reid had made this group better. Glenn Allred sang a good baritone, Josh was just a fantastic lead, and Gene Mcdonald was one of the best. I hope they’ll still be active in sg music in one way or another. I’ll miss Derrell Stewart and his antics, too.

    I hate it most for Josh. Hopefully he’ll get with a group soon. He has too much talent to sit on the sidelines.

  5. Alan wrote:

    This news leaves me kind of sad. The FB’s were classy men who stayed true to their style and sound. Through the years, their personnel included some wonderful singers, and that remained until the very end. Les, Glen, and Darrell, enjoy retirement, and we thank you for the many years of good, and even great music that you gave us.

  6. Trent wrote:

    I think Glen & Derrell can still get it done, and have some mileage left in them, if they want to continue. Glen is singing baritone better than most people on the road today. Derrell still has it going on at the piano. However, I understand that a person reaches a point in his life when he realizes “I’m tired and I don’t want to do this anymore.” May Les, Derrell, and Glen have many enjoyable and healthy years of retirement.

    Josh Garner is an awesome lead singer and should (and will, if he chooses) go on to even greater heights vocally. I betcha he has already been offered a job today, because he is that good–and everyone in the industry knows it. To all of you who think Joseph Habedank needs to go back to baritone, how would the Perrys sound with Garner on lead and Habedank on baritone? Run with it, you rabid dogs.

    Maybe Gene McDonald knew all this was coming down the pike, and that’s why he busted out of there while the show was still going on. He’s every bit as good as Garner at what he does, and should be with a major group right now. No doubt he has had offers.

  7. gc wrote:

    This has been in the works for a while and I think Gene and Harold made the moves knowing it was going to happen sooner than later. People have no clue how important Les has been to SG music…He is one of my favorite people to talk to….

  8. SPD wrote:

    Mary! The bass singer is Butch Owens. He’d been singing bass for The Stamps for about 3 or 4 years before FBs. I bet He regrets the move now! Butch’s son is Ian Owens who sang bass for the Cumberland Qt. in 01′ or 02′ and has now been with the Imperials for about 4 years! And to Trent, I like the Perrys idea for Josh! They need another force of nature on stage!

  9. tim wrote:

    In an era when SG groups come and go it is impressive that the FB have been able to hold it together for as long as they have. It’s a true testiment to their heart’s desire that they have stayed on the road as long as they have. A Class Act.

  10. Aaay Nonemus wrote:

    I doubt you’ll see Garner go with the Perry’s. I just don’t think a mixed group is his cup-o-tea.

  11. KB wrote:

    So, do you think that Harold and Gene saw it coming and bailed, or do you think the retirement came about BECAUSE they left?

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg??

  12. Thom wrote:

    Farewell to one of the best quartets ever. Through the years The Florida Boys stayed true to the genre and were not victims to every whim of fashion or style that came down the pike. These men have done more to preserve Southern Gospel music than most people will ever realize.

    From the old Jubilee TV series, to the GMA, to the NQC Board, to inspiring countless young singers and showing them the right way to make quartet music - we owe all of you a great big thanks.

    It was my pleasure to promote these guys in concert back in the Spring. They were class acts - true gentlemen, very approachable and friendly, very polished, yet very humble. Just talking to Les and Glen and Darrell would have been enough to make the whole experience worthwhile, but the concert they did was absolutely great.

    It just happened that the weekend I hosted them was Gene McDonald’s last weekend singing Bass with the group. The weather outside was not what we would have ordered. It had rained most of the day and their were still tornado watches and warnings in the area. Yet the faithful fans came out in droves to hear this legendary group.

    So, there they were - Glen Allred on Baritone, Josh Garner on Lead, Harold Reid on Tenor, Gene McDonald on Bass, Darrell Stewart on piano, facial expressions, clowning and mugging for the crowd, and red sock duty, and Les Beasley emceeing, Bass guitar, Stage Director and Anchorman - keeping the crowd eating out of his hand all night long. And they didn’t just do 45 minutes, take the offering, pitch the product, 15 minutes more, pack up and leave. These guys sang for over 2 hours.

    The crowd that filled the nearly packed house was never restless but totally relaxed as they watched and listened to true legends of Southern Gospel. They never sounded better than they did that night.

    It was one of my favorite concerts of all time and is a memory that I will cherish for a long, long time. And the autographed photo is proudly hanging in my studio right now.


  13. Aaron Swain wrote:

    That’s Harold Reed… Harold Reid is the bass for the Statler Brothers ;-)

  14. Thom wrote:

    i had a feeling i was not spelling some of the names correctly, but was sure that one of you bloggers would correct me! thanks Aron…I mean Aaron. lol

  15. Thom wrote:

    and oh, incidentally Aaron - on your blog you have both Josh and Les singing tenor. you may want to make that correction, too. lol =)

  16. Aaron Swain wrote:

    hehe oops.. thanks for catchin that

  17. TerryDvis wrote:

    Your comments were less than that of a gentleman. We all know that the Florida Boys are where they are. There is no need to ridicule. They have pioneered the ground for many decades. Why not congratulate then as the fade into the sunset?
    Why pass unflattering remarks? Sort of the unChristian thing to do in my opinion.

  18. GLenn wrote:

    As a side note, Daniel Mount’s comment about them going out at the top of their game is the reason that he can not be taken seriously. Saying things that for some reason he thinks people want to hear I’m sure appeals to a lot of people, but certainly, I would assume, not your typical reader. Any serious southern gospel music fan has a soft part in their heart for the Florida Boys. They will always truly be a legend.

  19. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    A “fit of nostalgia”…ha! I just happen to like the traditional groups, that’s all.

    Doug, as I think you might know, I was referring to the recent Reed/Garner/Allred/McDonald lineup, which was quite possibly the best lineup they’ve had, except for maybe in the ’70s with Jerry Trammell. They haven’t had a set lineup at any point since Gene left–they’ve just been steadily rebuilding.

  20. steve wrote:

    I went to 2 FB concerts in the last 18 months. Both were fantastic. It is too bad
    they are leaving the stage not at their best. If they knew this was going to happen I would have liked them to have Gene and Harold stay with them an extra 6 months and done a “Final Tour” and retire at the top of their game.

    I consider myself a FB fan but it was very frustrating trying to follow anything that was going on with them. The FB had to have the worst web site in SG. They updated that site once every 4-6 months.

  21. thom wrote:

    ps. - Glen Allred’s rock sold smooth baritone singing was the one constant that held the group together vocally amongst all the other personnel changes. He is singing as great as ever and is probably the most under rated, often overlooked baritone vocalist in the business. While all the other parts saw somewhat of a revolving door of singers - there was Glen singing faithfully and consistently night after night, year after year.

    Thanks Glen.

  22. Stephen wrote:

    I’d say that I’m sad the Florida Boys are callin’ it quits, but I’d be lying. Can I request that the Inspirations be next?

  23. smith wrote:

    Garner going to the Perry’s would be interesting, but Josh has ALWAYS said that he’s a quartet man to the bone. He’s a traditionalist to the core of his soul, and the Perry’s seem to step further and further out into the realm of progressiveness….

    And to Stephen…it’s really sad that you feel the way you do about the FB callin’ it quits. If it weren’t for groups like the FB and Inspirations who paved the road in SGM, then you probably wouldn’t be getting to listen to your favorite groups….who, by the way, probably couldn’t hold a candle to the FB and Insp…

  24. Danny Wilson wrote:

    I saw the Florida Boys last Sat.one night before they retired and Les and Glen and Darrell where at there best. Mr. Ownes done one of the finest Jobs since I heard JD Sumner and the Stamps. As to Gene Mc Donald and all the criticsm of Les Beasley, when Gene and any of the other Members Get 50 years in the singing Business then we will talk about how great they are or how great they where.

  25. DrummingDrew wrote:

    FYI…..Josh Garner recenly completed a 2nd solo project of old Florida Boys material. I am not sure of the name, but I know he is still looking for someone to sing with. The other commentors are right. He is a quartet man to the bone….so the Perry’s are out of the question, though it would be nice. If any of you reading this post need an awesome lead singer, Josh is the man.

  26. Arlie Petree wrote:

    I have a great appreciation for all singers &
    ministers and writers,especially those who
    are lifting up Jesus and working hard to share the good news with others.If I must
    be negative I can deal with that alone with God.To be a light for Jesus,to forgive and
    encourage others is the rewarding way to
    go.grandma moses was a crude painter but
    was admired by the world.Some are pro’s
    some are simple,like me, but God judges the
    heart.,rewarding all for their works.The world is watching, let them see us in a
    good light.

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