How would the Kingsmen be received today?

It’s an interesting question that reader Oldtimer poses here. OT’s point seems to be that the “three chords and a cloud of dust” approach that the Kingsmen epitomized would be a welcome relief in these latter days of uber-slick, hyper-choreographed, fully tracked, and stratospherically stacked gospel music performance. I’m not really sure the answer matters so much for several reasons, not least of all is that 1)you can’t re-create something that’s already been enshrined in memory and perfected by years of nostalgia and backstage folklore; 2)even if you could re-create it, no one has the money or interest in doing so these days because except for a few us online blatherers, the rest of southern gospel music seems not the least bit bothered by the (d)evolution into pre-programmed artificiality.

What does interest me about OT’s question is what it implies about broader trends in taste and the role gospel music plays in modeling a kind of collective Christian identity for its fans. That is, I’m interested in the historical conditions that make a group like the Kingsmen and their unpolished style popular at a particular moment and, alternatively, what it is that appeals to people in our time about the super glossy made-for-tv muzak that has come to dominate the stage and the product table.

I’m not really a music or cultural historian but I play one online sometimes, which leads me to theorize that the Kingsmen of the 70s were the sedimentation of a trend that started most famously with the Goodmans but could probably be traced back at least to the Chuck Wagon Gang or the Speers – a style of gospel that emphasized an improvisational stage presence and energetic harmonics over polish and musical poise. Initially, I doubt there was much conscious strategizing about this cultivating of an “authentic” (as opposed to authentic) sound, but by the time of the Goodmans rise in the early 60s, it’s clear that carefully crafted carelessness was all the rage.

Partly this may have been a reaction to the increasingly professionalized sounds and appearance of groups like the Blackwoods and Statesman and Oak Ridge and other male quartets who descended from the mainstream tradition started by the big publishing houses that first put quartets on the road earlier in the century. A rougher, less coiffed sound was a way to distinguish oneself from the dominant tradition while remaining within it. At the same time, a group like the Goodmans – and later the Kingsmen – appealed to a growing segment of the charismatic, Pentecostal, holiness, and otherwise exuberant Christian consumers who didn’t immediately identify with the buttoned down, three-piece, pressed and polished manner of the James Blackwood-Big Chief quartet tradition. Put another way: The Gospel Boogie may have shocked Baptists but it’s pretty thin soup for anyone who’s spent a Sunday evening down at the local AG when everybody starts singing and shoutin and calling the glory down etc.

By the time the Kingsmen rose to fame in the 70s, the Pentecostal influence in gospel music had become absorbed into the mainstream of sg. Though I’m not sure anyone has made this case conclusively, there’s a widespread sense among gospel music insiders who care that the Pentecostal trend in gospel was not unrelated to the simultaneous rise of Contemporary Christian Music. I’d be hardpressed to prove this with vast tracts of empirical evidence at the moment, but I think the case of Gaither and his circle and what they were doing in the 70s and 80s is just one example that suggests that the insp0/anthem/early PW wing of CCM was populated by a large number of gospel-music ex-patriots. Or as a friend of mine who had a front-row seat for all this put it to me in an email a while back:

If you took a hard look at when contemporary music gained a foot hold, you would find that it was roughly 4 years after the Goodman’s, and the Rambo’s became household names in gospel music circles. I have heard certain members of the Imperials say that their transition to the contemporary side was mainly due to a feeling that they needed to distance themselves from the “gospel music” popular of the day, namely Country Gospel. And the Imperials were largely responsible for ushering in that new era we now call contemporary.

I remember well the first concert our group did with a group with a full country band. I can never remember feeling more out of place, and totally lost. That was about 1972.

So the Kingsmen style – and this should take within its sweep all the groups that preceded and were part of it – represented the solidification of class and denominational differences in the musical sound of gospel. Southern gospel identified with the KM and made them successful because it was a way of disambiguating the old familiar faithful “us” from the scary new apostate “them” of CCM.

Thirty years on, things are both more and less complicated, I think. The rise of non-demonational megachurches, the suburbanization of large parts of the south, and the vast growth of Christian entertainment (not unrelated to the first two trends) has helped dissolve many of the old boundaries that used to make for clearer segments with Protestantism. Now there is more or less “evangelicalism,” a collective and individual identity forged as much by the culture wars of the 80s and 90s as anything else. One effect of this rise of evangelicalism has been a heightening of image-consciousness, of aesthetics. Long the butt of jokes from snooty citified types who assume “evangelical” = uncultivated bumpkins, much of conservative Christianity has given itself a makeover.

In gospel music, that has meant an increased attention to lighting, presentation, intros and outros, transitions, and pretty much every other aspect of performance and recording to a degree that was unheard of, unthinkable even maybe, to the gospel music mainstream in the 70s. And of course, it’s meant the ascendancy of tracks and stacks and digitized music. A group like Signature Sound is the epitome of this style. And I mean that largely as a compliment, even though I find it hard to like a lot of what they do. Say what you will about Ernie Haase’s love of cheese in all its forms and flavors, he’s creative and smart and unafraid to see how far fans will follow him into territory that isn’t exactly uncharted, but is pretty unknown for musicians singing the kinds of music that’s the mainstay of Signature Sound’s repertoire.

Their popularity, like Gaither’s and the Homecoming music generally, arises from its ability to sound, feel, and look (the aesthetics are sooo important here) as good, as slick, as professional, and well-lit as anything that an equivalent secular artist could do, and yet also be deeply familiar as gospel music at the same time (as opposed to being slavishly imitative, as is the wont of so many of these “classic quartet” types out there now). A group like EHSSQ lets fans remain affiliated with the old time way while also satisfying the aesthetic standards that modern audiences have come to expect in our highly visual, digitized, and over-produced culture.

Which gets us back to OT’s question. All this leads to me believe that while there might be some nostalgic fondness for a return to the KM or Happy Goodman style music (assuming anyone besides the Perrys still exist who could pull it off authentically and not just quasi-parodically), there really wouldn’t be a mass audience to support this music the way there is, say, Gaither Vocal Band and EHSSQ or Mark Lowry or Greater Vision or whomever else you’d place along these lines. These groups and their style of singing, staging, and producing music in all its forms are a fulfillment of the mainstream evangelical imagination today, an idealization of what average fans want to believe their best selves to be and become.

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Comments

  1. Angie M wrote:

    Fascinating analysis. I wish I had something to add to it. But I always enjoy this kind of thing.

  2. ST wrote:

    “There really wouldn’t be a mass audience to support this music…” (This music of coarse being KM and Goodman style).

    Today’s gospel music has a lot of fluff, chrography, and stage antics. It does sale tickets, and it does draw a crowd - no doubt. Second, the mega churches to the First Baptist have emphasized drama, entertainment, and programmed performance that is what the majority of people feel “church” is supposed to be. If you grew up going to a church that has always entertained, then you would not expect anything less.

    Now, our beloved Southern Gospel Artists (not all), know that if they continue to make a living at gospel music, or at least drawing a crowd in order to be on big ticket concerts, then they must be overly entertaining with media, chrography, theatrical presence or whatever else it takes to meet people’s expectations. Again, a lot of people believe this is what “church” is all about.

    Not only general audiences believe this, but also some artists who grew up in these churches. Some did not grow up in these kind of churches with such foolishness. However, it really draws a crowd and look how many we’re bringing in. We must be doing something right.

    Just because it draws a crowd does not mean it has the touch of God on it. Paul never did draw much of a crowd. As a matter of fact, most of the time they were putting him in jail, beating him, and trying to kill him. Was Paul in God’s will? I believe he was. Do you really think Paul could have served the Lord better if he had been more entertaining? He would have been out of God’s will. Paul did not go to entertain anyone, neither did Paul make his living presenting the Gospel. (Please - I’m not implying that there’s anything wrong with full-time ministry.)

    However, if I had to dance around, be theatrical, and act like a clown to keep my full-time ministry paying me, I’d just have to quit taking a salary. I’d get a job and present the person of Jesus Christ and not the performance.

    Whose fault is it that this generation would not know a real move of the Holy Ghost where people let out a holy shout while others are tearfully WAILING while others run to an altar to beg God for forgiveness? The devil has blinded the eyes of so many by raising up the theatrical, drama, performance church while other non-christian and non bible reading christians have flocked with the crowd.

    The truth is nobody wants an old-fashioned spirit-filled gospel group that’s not about fluff and entertainment. By the way, KM had an element of entertainment and the Goodmans had an element of dramatic theatrics. I’ve heard the Goodmans would cut off the lights and use a spotlight. Also, I’ve heard the Goodmans would set-up a 24 Track 2 inch tape player that had their orchestration on it. Hamil would come on after the Goodmans and say, “Turn on the lights - this ain’t a nightclub.”

    My point is being entertaining and dramatic is really not new. Chorgraphy is new, and all this combined it is getting ridiculas to the point most folks don’t have a clue about a true move of God.

  3. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    I like cheese too. Seriously.

    Maybe that explains a few things…

  4. KD wrote:

    Excellent write-up. (And people think you’re all negative.) ;-P

    It’s interesting this topic would get some front page discussion. A friend and I were discussing this very thing during the past week.

    Our discussion centered primarily around the question, “If the groups of yesterday had the technology of today, what would they look/be like?”

    With that, I think it’s interesting you mention EHSSQ, because I think if you were able to bring the jet-setting Blackwoods of the 50s-60s into today’s world, they would be EHSSQ. BB were cutting edge for their day and style. They took risks and went places no one else dared to go. Sure, they paid a high price for it, but they went there nonetheless.

    And, you’re spot-on about the inability of the “fly by the seat of your pants” KM/Goodmans style to catch on today. The culture today (especially the teens-20s) expects polished perfection, and is always looking for the next WOW moment. Sure, the 70s style that is being discussed might be able to get there on occasion, but it would be a rare occasion.

    For fans of that particular style, I believe a modern-day version of it could take the equivalent form of music’s acoustic settings where half of what is performed is planned improvisation.

    On a lighter note, the KM of the 70s would never gain any substantial audience or heavy listenership today. Reason being, health insurance companies would never underwrite the “Ton of Fun.”

  5. Sheldon wrote:

    Good stuff — couple questions that went through my mind. I don’t know that the Blackwoods and Statemsen (esp in the 60’s) were laid back button down appeal to the Baptists types. It could be argued that the Statesmen were part of ushering in CCM at least with their attitude towards entertainment, choreagraphy (sp?), and innovative harmony.
    Secondly,
    I’m not sure this line has totally gone out — I think you can hear some KM influences today in both the Dixie Echoes and the Inspso’s. Goodman influences in the Perry’s, and Chuck Wagon influences in the McKameys. It amuses me a bit that the groups that people love to pick on for their lack of ability are the ones that haven’t fallen for the slickness, tracks etc.

  6. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I think you would have some folks today who would follow the Kingsmen and Happy Goodmans today. Country music has faced this same situation. In the 1960s and early 70s there was a rebellion against the “Nashville Sound”. Artists like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson proved that there was a market for country music other than the slickly packaged, over-orchestrated sound of Chet Atkins.

    Later in the 1980s Randy Travis, Ricky Scaggs, and a few others came along and brought the traditional country sound back into popularity. The same could happen in gospel music. If groups today could afford to carry live bands like the Goodmans and Kingsmen did there would be more interest in their three chords and a cloud of dust sound.

  7. BUICK wrote:

    Very interesting thread - and revealing for me. I never cared for the Goodmans, the Kingsmen and their ilk. I had never bothered to analyze why this was. But with this thread, I am beginning to realize that what I disliked was a style that seemed to me to be sloppy. I enjoyed the tight harmonies and polished presentation of the Statesmen. The Cathedrals with brass and the Cathedrals with strings were the ultimate of SG style in my book.

    But lately, and this is what I find most interesting, I don’t listen to the vintage Cats, Statesmen or Imperials. It all seems a little too predictable. I find myself pulling out and listening to the recordings of some of the groups I used to disdain.

    The psychology and musicology of all of this is beyond me but this thread is helping me to realize what I’m doing, if not why.

    One other thought: have you ever noticed that the Cats could record polished, professional and very smooth projects. But the same numbers on a live album or in person were electric with energy and alive with excitement. They seemed to be able to do both classy, finished studio work and vibrant concert dates. Probably why they were at the top of the heap.

    Just some thoughts to add to the mix.

  8. Steve wrote:

    Doug: Excellent piece. I concur with you on all points. It’s kinda sad though that today’s teen-20’s are too young to have experienced those classic 60’s and 70’s groups live. They have never known a time where live music was more pure, raw and less techno so they have nothing to compare it to. I do agree with Sheldon (#5) though that the Statesmen paid a LOT of attention to showmanship. Hovie, in his day was as much of a wildman on stage as Jerry Lee Lewis and Big Chef was a master showman. Nothing wrong with this because they had the musical chops to back it up but while they now are looked at with fond nostalgia, when they were in their prime, they infuriated the traditionalists as much as EHSS do now with their antics. It’s a big circle and, except for the technology, very little ever really changes.

  9. Ben Harris wrote:

    I think you will find that the Cathedrals made a pretty good living re-doing old Statesmen recordings. I was a fan of the Cats, but I think the original innovation came from the Statesmen.

  10. RR wrote:

    “Three chords and a cloud of dust”

    Great phrase!

  11. Bryce wrote:

    Steve…

    No wonder Rosie was so round, what with “Big Chef” on the bus. :)

  12. Quartet Fan wrote:

    #10, If this is the first time you’ve heard that phrase, let me assure you it is in no way original.

  13. David wrote:

    #10, if you liked that, you’ll like this from Hamill:

    “We don’t sing by notes, we sing by letter-we just open up & let ‘er fly!”

  14. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    One thing you can never really second guess in Southern Gospel is the taste of fans…what will catch on and what will die on the stage. It’s really impossible to accurately predict whether or not they’d have the same sort of success now.

    They very well might. At the very least, it’s an interesting idea for speculation.

    We don’t really have a group on the road that parallels the Kingsmen of the 1970s, but we do have some groups on the road doing fairly well who really shouldn’t be as successful as they are…not based on their throwback sound or even their overall musical skill. These groups are generally rewarded based on the way they connect with their audience, theatrics, song lyrics, etc., not so much their singing ability.

    As long as that is the case, I have to think there would still be a chance for a 1970s Kingsmen or Goodmans inspired group with genuine singing talent to do well. In fact, the Perrys are doing well. They’re not drawing in crowds at the level of GVB or EH&SS on a regular basis, but I would think they’re probably drawing close to the same level as one of Doug’s other examples, Greater Vision.

  15. Matureman wrote:

    The first time I saw and heard “Trax” used on stage, it was in 1960 at the Robinson Memorial Auditorium in Little Rock.

    The Blackwood Bros. (Bill Shaw, James B., Cecil B. and J.D. Sumner) had a new Hawaiian album for sale, ‘Beautiful Isle of Somewhere’ and to demo the sound on-stage, they had a reel-to-reel recorder off-stage.

    When James introduced it, someone behind the curtain clicked the player and it didn’t start (sound familiar?) He quickly walked over for a second and then the Steel Guitar and Ukulele started playing through the PA. It was beautiful.

    The first thought that popped into my 17 year old head was, “…that sounds great but how do they do an encore?” BTW, that still happens today in my home church service when hearing a nice trax accompanied song that touches the heart of someone who moves to the altar for prayer.

    Another thing, the ‘Battle of Song’ performances were scheduled quarterly by Mr. Knowland. They were a big deal to us. I saved for the $4.00 ticket and we (teens) discussed the roster of artists and how much money they were going to make for a month before the big night. We were true fans. I remember when Jake Hess got sick and it was rumored that the Statesmen had offered and Jay Berry had turned down a $25,000 ann/salary. We teens were astonished and believed every word. It was at the RMA that I saw and heard the Couriers, Rebels, LeFevres, Prophets. Statesmen, Oak Ridge Boys (Willie, Smitty, Ron, Herman), Melody Boys and others. It was there that I started an album collection (500+) that is still treasured.

    While many of the songs really touched our young teen hearts, we knew it was just wholesome entertainment and it wasn’t intended to be a church service. In fact, in all the years of going to those events while growing up, not once did I ever witness an altar call or invitation… not to say it never happened in other places. Maybe, it could have with single group performances (Couriers, maybe). At the ‘Battle of Songs’, the groups came on stage with a lot of fanfare and sang for about 20 to 30 minutes without a lot of talking and preaching. We enjoyed the harmony and the arrangements, etc. They were burned in to memory. I can still sing those words and arrangements today.

  16. Steve wrote:

    Matureman, I love that old Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock. Great acoustics. Been in it many times with different acts through the years.

  17. RK wrote:

    There were really two separate religious dynamics in the play in 1970’s (1, the ascensions of Charismatics–think Swaggart/Bakker; and, 2, the rise of a fundamentalist worldview in the Baptist realm.

    The rise of the more unvarnished Kingsmen/Goodman’s-type sound dovetailed nicely with Charismatic tastes. And the emerging fundamentalist worldview was tailor made to reject what was going with the traditional quartets of that time. The Imperials were growing their hair longer and singing a contemporary style. The Blackwood Brothers endured a vote-rigging scandal at the Dove Awards. The Stamps were touring the country with (gasp!) Elvis Presley. The Oak Ridge Boys traded gospel songs about Jesus for country songs about saloons.

    While the Kingsmen and the Goodman’s gave Charismatics music compatible with their tastes, they also served for a time as the antithesis of the perceived worldliness of the old southern gospel guard, as did a few notable more buttoned-down groups such as the Florida Boys and Inspirations.

    It would take a few more years before groups like the Cathedrals and Gold City–with their polished sounds and morally suitable appearances–would set a new industry standard and pave the way for what we see today.

    Of course, Gaither would ultimately sanitize and rehabilitate the wayward performers of the 70’s and remind aging fans of why they loved them to begin with (ironically, in the most secular of all places…the living room TV/VCR and municipal arenas).

  18. Paul Jackson wrote:

    Matureman…I’m a Robinson Auditorium (Little Rock, AR) guy too. The list of groups that I have heard there, many for the first time, is extensive. On subject, my first exposure to the Kingsmen was at Robinson.

    I really enjoyed your comment. Gave me some ideas for my on blog. Interesting post Doug.

    PJ / The Prophets

  19. Tim wrote:

    RK’s post sums up some of what I observed. While the Oaks were starting their exit and growing out their hair, Hamill used all of this to give an “it’s us against the world” attitude to the fans that came out to hear them. For the most part, it worked for several years. On another note, Hamill was one of the best lead singers the industry has known and ran the stage to perfection. He was a very likable person if you could stand being picked on.

  20. RF wrote:

    Very interesting analysis. Someone mentioned the Perrys. They use extensive tracks these days, too.

    I guess that’s why I really enjoyed the Kingdom Heirs album “Off the Record”–their tribute to the Statesman. They used a piano, upright bass and the occasional organ and it is wonderful listening. Someone should convince these other groups to try that more often.

  21. Not Ernie Haase wrote:

    I wasn’t born in the 1970’s so I can’t fully appreciate the Kingsmen (and the Kingsmen of today are a sorry excuse for the original version) or the Happy Goodmans, but as a 20-something person, I love putting in their greatest hits cd’s today.

    I would give anything to be able to have seen them both “live” during their prime.

  22. Oldtimer wrote:

    # 19 - I am glad to see the kindly refrence to Hamil. I have spent a lot of time defending Hamil to Hamil-bashers (and they are legion!!) From the time Hamil joined the kingsmen until mid 80s there was not a lead singer who could touch him. I am not talking about the theatrical stuff - I mean controlled, (dare I say it) disciplined lead singing. Go back and listen to “Say a Prayer for Me,” or “I Owe it All to Him,” or what I think is his greatest reocrding, “He’ll be to You.” The guy could out-Ivan Ivan in his day. I know that he could be tough on you - I was playing the piano for one of his end of the concert all group sing alongs and I did a key change he did not ask for in “Just a Little Talk with Jesus.” He was neither pleased nor impressed with my decision and did he ever let me know it. And I wear that chewing like a medal today - it is really a great memory. But he is also a gentleman. I have seen his heart as we have shared meals or visited before or after a concert and he loves people. And as great as Hovie and George were (who I consider the only rivals he had as emcee) no one could run a stage like Hamil. Now that that rabbit has been thouroghly chased and killed, back to the topic at hand…

  23. thom wrote:

    RK summed it up in post #17. I remember as a child when the Oaks “went country” how astounded and dissappointed many people were.

    Jim Hamill was the best Emcee ever -and- a great singer to boot.

    To me “The Goodman’s” were always in a league all their own. To my eyes and ears they could do no wrong on stage.

  24. Matt G. wrote:

    #21 - I’m with you! I’m 22 and I’ve been a huge fan of the Goodmans since I first got into southern gospel many years ago. I’ve just recently got into the Kingsmen of the Hamill era, and love them! Don’t get me wrong, I love the polish of the groups like the Statesmen and the Weatherfords, but there’s something about that “let it all hang out” style that gets me. I too would give anything to witness either group live in their prime, especially the Goodmans with Howard at the piano. I think this a niche in southern gospel that isn’t being filled right now. Would a group like that ever reach the stardom of the GVB or EHSSQ? Who knows, but I personally don’t think that’s the most important thing. Of all the groups I’ve seen live, I would have to say the Perrys come closest to this. I’ve seen clips of a live performance by the Diplomats, and they seem to have a bit of that style as well.

  25. Ben Harris wrote:

    It seems to me that many are comparing the sounds of the Goodmans to the Kingsmen. I don’t think they were anywhere close in style as the Goodmans were country music with gospel lyrics and the KM were traditional quartet, but with a three chords and a cloud of dust drive. On another note, during this time period a group I was with at the time hosted the Oaks. When they came on stage roughly half the audience got up and walked out. Seems the folks didn’t want to hear them do “Good Hearted Woman, in love with a good timin man” which is one of the songs they did that evening.

  26. Matt G. wrote:

    25 makes an interesting point. I think the comparison comes from the energy and “three chords and a cloud of dust” performance style that both groups had. To my ears the Goodmans didn’t start to go country till the mid 70s when they started adding the twangy string sections to their studio recordings. The earlier Goodmans (in concert that is) with Howard at the piano, Bobby on bass, and Ernie Maxwell on guitar didn’t really have that country sound to my ears. They seemed to have the more traditional sound then.

  27. Derek wrote:

    I believe Jim Hamill was/is a rare gem in SG. I’m in my early 30’s so I never experienced the Goodmans or the Kingsmen of the 70’s. I did experience the Kingsmen of the 90’s…about the time “Wish You Were Here” was riding high and KingsGold was at it’s prime. I can tell you that I’ve never experienced anything like Jim Hamill. What I always loved was you never knew what he was going to call next…or who he would call on to sing something they might not have ever sung before. It was enjoyable to watch him give the hand signals to the band to go another round or cut it off. In fact, I even use some of the same hand signals today when leading the choir at my home church. I know there are those who didn’t care for some of his stage antics (i.e. giving his coat a sling and kicking at it as it left his hand) but pound for pound (LOL…I couldn’t resist) I believe he ranks among the best when it comes to lead singing and leading a group on stage. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same without him. Parker Johnathan was pretty good and learned well, but he was no Hamill.

  28. thom wrote:

    #27 - Derek: Me too, the Kingsmen of the 90’s is the group I remember.

    Hamill is still the Best.

  29. chuck stevens wrote:

    I miss the Kingsmen of the 80’s and 90’s. Hamill was a master on stage. Parker was too much of an announcer for the most part, he had done some radio in his time. I heard he was driving a tour bus for somebody, anybody know of his wehreabouts? they still had the Kingsmen sound after Hamill, just not the great stage presence. I haven’t seen them in about two years, Frank Arnold does not bring them through Oklahoma anymore.

  30. Charlie Sexton wrote:

    MattG,

    You’re right. The Perrys are masters at mimicking the Goodman sound, but the closest thing you’ll see right now to The Gargantuan Goodmans AND The Klassic Kingsmen would be a concert by The Dynamic Diplomats. They sing with from the heart; they are truly funny; they are sincerely spiritual; and they do, like Martin Cook says, sing “Big and Loud”! They are a class act!

    Let me just say it this way, when Mama Diplomat (aka: Miz Rita) opens up her vocal instrument, Sister Vestal pours out!

    The Dips are quickly becoming that group that every promoter wants on their concerts but that no group honestly wants to to follow!

  31. GB wrote:

    To honor Jim and Eldridge, I thought the Kingsmen name should have been retired. There will never be another Kingsmen, period.

  32. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Although it hasn’t been mentioned in the posts thus far, Jim Hamill did some great singing with the Rebels (both stints). I know there are some who think some of his best singing was when he was with Rebels, Oak Ridge & Blue Ridge (and let’s not forget Melodymen, Senators, Weatherfords, Watchmen, Foggy River Boys)

  33. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    Thanks, Dean, for bringing up Big Jim’s stints in other groups. I have an album of the Rebels with him singing lead. He does a great job on “I Know That I’ve Been Born Again.” His singing with the Oaks on “Hide Thou Me,” “How About You,” and “One of These Mornings” is full of the usual Big Jim passion and vitality.

    Does anyone know what years Jim sang with the Rebels?

  34. Dorothy Reitz wrote:

    we will miss Jim too , just wondered how old he was?

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