Oaks on SN chart … Lucifer reports freak freezing conditions

Reader JT writes to note that the Oak Ridge Boys have a song on the Singing News chart this month … the first time in 30 years, if JT’s math is right. I haven’t yet seen the SN this month, so I can’t say for sure. But JT notes that the song is attached to a Gaither label and promoted by Rick Hendrix. Since the decision, if true, is only about 29 years and 11 months over due, it probably shouldn’t go without saying that this is not only the right thing to do, but should ideally be just the beginning of a much broader industry-wide effort, now matter how belated it may be nor how few people may actually care anymore, to reintegrate the sounds and styles of gospel music into the wider world of music entertainment.

Update: I’ve received some unsolicited confirmation from independent sources on this, and it looks like this is the real deal, though it also looks like we’re talking about the June issue and not the May chart, as I had initially understood JT to mean. Charles Brady has some more details about the song here.

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  1. RF wrote:

    The Oaks did this in the 80’s (offer a sg sound to pop, or in this case country music). It was what first attracted me to the Oaks and I bought every single thing they did back in those days. It was the sound. The Statler Brothers also did this.

    Will it happen again? Hard to say…

  2. Kyle wrote:

    Most likely, “Didn’t It Rain,” which is NOT the same as the Dove Brothers’ hit. I can’t find it on the current charts…..

    I do know that William Lee Golden stated it was at number 46 on a chart (didn’t say which one) after only a week’s worth of plays….

  3. Charles Brady wrote:

    The song debuted at Number 1 after less than 24 hours of being in the Radioactive Airplay system after Hendrix added it. I haven’t seen this kind of DJ excitment over a song since we started the service 16 months ago. This one looks like it is going to hit hard & fast. It is a great song and like Kyle stated it is not the same song the Dove Brothers did.

  4. Wade wrote:

    The Oaks always loved gospel music… always did it in their shows… I know I talked about his before but back when the PURIST…HOLY ROLLERS… Better than Thou crowd took over the industry if you notice is about the time the Industry started it’s downward crash… Saying you basically had to try and live a perfect with out blemish life forced The Oaks to country music. ORBs should have sent them checks as THANKS!!!

    It ws interesting to see Gold City sing with the Oaks a couple of times and wondered if it would hurt them with The Holy PPL… I thought it was great and watch the youtubes often.

    I hope now that Vestals is gone it makes it easier for Gaither to include them.

    Please lets welcome The Oaks back.

    On another note… just had the opportunity to see Old Path the last 2 nights… they are great I really enjoyed them…

  5. rw wrote:

    Wade - I don’t understand the comment about Vestal and Gaither in your post (#4). What am I missing?

  6. Joe wrote:


    There’s another part of your comment I don’t get. What kind of a life do you think professing Christians publicly singing gospel music SHOULD live, if it is not trying to live a “perfect life without blemish”?

    For the record, shortly before the Oaks went into country music, my brother and I opened for them at a huge concert, where there were more people turned away than could get tickets. Just them, and us. No one came there that night to hear us! But to 2 young guys raised in a Christian home and singing music about the Lord Jesus, it was most unsettling for us to see them and their band members come in from the buses, and back to them, with gals on each arm, not their wives.

    8 times in the Bible, God says “You must be holy…for I am holy.”

    What does that mean to you? Are we to understand that any believer who tries to obey this command from the Lord, is to be considered a “purist holy roller”?

  7. KDM wrote:

    The scriptures call us to the pursuit of personal holiness. Will we ever be holy? Of course not! But we’re supposed to emulate Christ, out of love for Him and as a witness to others. I think that any Christian who lives a public life, i.e. performers, politicians, or anyone else who finds themselves under close scrutiny, must work all the harder to be certain that their witness is above reproach. I’m not saying that I don’t have to try as hard as they should because I’m not famous. It’s just that, if you know that your dirty laundry is likely to be aired in public, you need to try to keep it to as much a minimum as possible, especially if you are trying to evangelize for the cause of Christ. The world is cruel and unforgiving, and is waiting to see a high-profile Christian fail. Being vigilant in your Christian walk is the only way to avoid being trampled.

  8. SG_Obzerver wrote:

    #4 Wade -
    “…back when the PURIST…HOLY ROLLERS… Better than Thou crowd took over the industry” and “…forced The Oaks to country music…”

    Um…bitter much?
    The Oaks went into Country music because it was lucrative and they were good at it. No one “forced” them out. Of course once they were “out” the door was promptly locked behind them until recently.
    More power to them then and now.

    “…Saying you basically had to try and live a perfect with out blemish life”

    And what is wrong with trying to live such a life? I thought this was a pretty basic tenet of Christianity

    “I hope now that Vestals is gone it makes it easier for Gaither to include them.”

    I am not quite sure I understand your Vestal remark.
    Were you referring to Vestal GOODMAN? Were you implying that she was one of the aforementioned “purists holy rollers” that excluded “heathens” such as the Oaks? If so you must not have known much about the lady. What about Vestal and George Jones…Vestal and Wynonna…Vestal and Dolly Parton…etc? Furthermore even if Vestal would have frowned upon sharing the stage with the Oaks (which I am most certain that she would not) I dont think that even SHE would have been able to discourage Bill from using them on the Homecoming Tour if he was so inclined.

  9. Wade wrote:

    Hi RW… it is pretty widely known that The Goodman’s & The Kingsman ( mainly Jim Hamill ) went to the top concert promoters and let it be known that they would not perform on the same shows w/ The ORB.

    All 3 were the top draws… well what would you do if you were a promoter and especially if some of the promoters felt the same way. If you will notice ORB’s were only on 2 of the regular Gaither Videos before Vestals death. Soon after her passing they started to appear more even becoming part of the Gaither Label.

    Joe…The Oaks are hard working great guys. Are they perfect??? NO… none of us are. But many people in SGM think if you do not do everything you can to APPEAR to be living the life The HOLY ROLLERS approve of then you are no longer welcome to sing SGM.

    We all sin and if was appropriate I could name you many SGM artist who’s lives make the ORB seem tame if it was known. I bet some of them are even artist you like. I am sorry if you had a bad experience at your concert. I hope you were able to recover from it. But even with their lives not being WHAT YOU WANT they should be allowed to sing SGM.

    They will be the ones that stand in judgment some day for their sins as all of us will and they will answer for that… just like you will answer for yours.

    Do you think that Peter & David should not be allowed into Heaven??? Or it would be OK for The Holly PPL to not sing with them because of their sins??? They did some pretty bad things. Peter denied Jesus and David took Bathsheba back to THE BUS.

    The Bible also says a few places for us not to judge and to forgive. If YOU do not like it …THAT is a PERSONAL CHOICE for you to make individually.

    Joe… What do you think about Gold City singing on stage with The ORB’s???

    Do you disagree that The Holy Movement in SGM was about the time the downward trend in the business???

    Would you have preferred that Elvis did not sing gospel music in his shows?? Should he have NOT hired gospel singers for his back up vocalist???

    So Joe… you believe the only people that sing SGM should be Minister Types??? You probably are on The Ministry Side of the debate of SGM is Show Business or Ministry?? You probably do not like EHSSQ??? How do you feel about women wearing pants in church??

    Don’t get me started on how bad I think it is for the Holy PPl who judged Kirk Talley so harshly. I had a Holy Friend call me the day all of that broke in the NEWS. I had known that for years but if you do not think Kirk will be in heaven or that it would be better if he had never sang SGM on stage then that makes my point for me.

    Because of the Holy Movement I wonder how many souls have not been reached because The Holy PPL wanted only Angels to sing only to the The CHOIR!!!

  10. Joe wrote:


    You are not only bitter; you are sadly confused. Most of your questions aren’t worth reading, let alone answering.

    “But even with their lives not being WHAT YOU WANT they should be allowed to sing SGM.”

    It has nothing to do with what I WANT. It has everything to do with what THE LORD COMMANDS.

    “We all sin and if was appropriate I could name you many SGM artist who’s lives make the ORB seem tame if it was known.”

    Straw-man argument, Wade, that makes no sense even to write it. Of course we all sin. But there is simply no excuse to be publicly singing the gospel of changed lives through the precious blood of Christ, and then publicly flaunt your sin for all to see, as if you are not a bit different than any unregenerated sinner. There is only one standard for a Christian, and it is NOT what other people do…

    I have been associated with SGM for over 40 years. Never once have I even heard of the “Holy Movement”. All I know is that God commands Christians TO BE HOLY, no questions asked, no excuses proffered. He does not present it as an option.

    Kirk Talley judged himself. He didn’t need human judges. All he needed was God’s Word. It says it all.

    If all we were to do was to “not judge and forgive”, then we would all be living lives where anything goes, where there really IS no such thing as sin, where God’s commands are nonsense, and where the reality of salvation is not a reality at all.

    If that’s the life you choose to live, have fun.

  11. Wade wrote:

    Joe & SG O… BITTER??? About what??? I just think it is ashamed that JUDGMENTAL People try to decide for every one else what is Pure & Right. It is NOT for YOU to judge.

    SG O… yes Vestal did soften over the years especially when some of the things she judged others for happened in her own family. Or when it was GOOD for HER. If you have never heard of the HOLY MOVEMENT…well that shows how much you are aware. It is widely been reported and evident from history and this blog.

    Joe… it’s funny what you choose to answer and what you do not. Answering the questions would expose you as a The Judgmental Person.

    I read this blog almost daily and this is only the 2nd time I have contributed. I laugh and shake my head often at the judgmental, nitpicking, smarter & purer than you attitudes of some people.

    I think the Bitterness is among the ones who do not like any one that does not agree that Evangelic SGM is the only way it should be done. Especially if The Artist does well and God forbid they chart a song.

  12. BBQ wrote:

    That without a doubt has to be your best title for a posting yet!!!!!!

    AWESOME! I laughed out loud.

  13. GoldCityGirl wrote:

    As far as Vestal being so judgemental,I have read that William Lee Golden said that when everyone gave up on him and shunned him, Vestal was the one who always reached out to him.

  14. Robert wrote:

    “…back when the PURIST…HOLY ROLLERS… Better than Thou crowd took over the industry” and “…forced The Oaks to country music…”

    I agree with this to a point. Every time a SG artist goes country, pop, or even CCM the “Holy Rollers” judge them. I just don’t think they are forced out. They make a common sense decision to be able to put food on their table. Which will not happen in SG.

  15. Seaton wrote:

    #10 - I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but it seems individuals can never forget an indiscretion that occurred with an artist, even if it occurred 30 years ago. If that artist has asked for forgiveness and the Lord has granted that forgiveness, why can’t we do the same?

  16. Radioguy wrote:

    I was going to contribute, but #7 KDM echoed pretty much everything going throuugh my mind.

  17. 2miles wrote:

    Wade & Robert,

    Aren’t YOU judging “Holy Rollers”? (Or Holly PPL as they have been called in recent post)…What’s the difference between what you are doing and what you accuse them of?… just on different ends of the spectrum…

  18. Eric Melton wrote:

    Keep in mind that everyone has done things they are not proud of. It is unfortunate that those whose sins came to the forefront that they have been chastised. No wonder like a gentleman I met last night that i invited to church says to me “why would I want to come to church. They all live like the devil just like I do, and then claim not to.

    You can also point fingers but I can personally tell you there are many that have things covered up that most of you will never know. If they have truly repented and asked forgiveness then those sins are put in the past.

    This is one of the reasons why I believe that God does not bless Southern Gospel Music more than he does. We have too many opinions all trying to row in a different way instead of being united. Keep these type of discussions up and see where it takes you. There is a difference in being a critic and then being the pot that calls the kettle black. We keep this up we will always remain small.

  19. apathetic wrote:

    Yes, we are all sinners and all have things in our PAST that are equivalent to the Oaks running around on their wives. Sin is sin. However, there is a difference in doing something and regretting it and getting forgiveness than openly, knowingly sinning and continuing to do so blatantly.
    “Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
    Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    As to the constant cry of Judge not… the Bible does not say we are not to judge. It says “Judge not, lest you be judged by the same manner in which you judge” This is something totally different. It means that if you are going to judge someone, you will be held to the same standards in which you are judging others. So if I say it is sin for someone to run around on their wife, I had better realize that I will be held to that same standard. I am OK with that. If you’re gonna quote the verse, quote all of it.

  20. apathetic wrote:

    Romans 6:12-14 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.

  21. tse wrote:

    I’m sitting here listening to Dr. Charles Stanley talking about forgiveness and bitterness…..forgive and you will be forgiven….

    As for the song, I’m sitting here trying to remember where I got the song, why I added it to the playlist months ago since it’s just being released and what’s a “gofer-rat”?(an intern?)

  22. Saved Pastor wrote:

    being christian doesn’t mean being perfect, however there is a difference in making a mistake and choosing a life style.

  23. J wrote:

    Obviously #4 didn’t know Vestal. I never knew anyone that was more accepting of people and their failings than she. Many times she was the anchor that drew someone back into a relationship with the Lord. Sometimes the only one that kept communication open when everyone else had bailed. I know, because I was one of those people that she didn’t give up on. She is missed.

  24. Dee Dee wrote:

    I think we are mixing 2 things here that maybe shouldn’t be mixed. First, there was friction between the Oaks and several artists in SG when they left. That isn’t much of a debate. But let’s just consider something here.

    Let’s just say I know artist ‘Joe-Joe’, he’s a friend but this friend begins living a lifestyle that isn’t representative of a true Christian lifestyle. If ‘Joe-Joe’ calls me and says ‘hey I need help, ________ happened” I’m there in a heartbeat.

    But if ‘Joe-Joe’ calls and says ‘hey, can your church book me this weekend’ or ‘hey, can you book me on the concert your radio station is putting on’. Then my answer is no I can’t.

    Not because I’m not his friend or that I don’t love him but because being a friend doesn’t mean I bless and condone everything he does.

    This may (I wasn’t there and I don’t know and I doubt any of you can say you were either) have been the situation with Vestal.

    I have no doubt she was a friend to many of the (probably all) the Oaks. But something I learned a long time ago, loving someone doesn’t mean you always have to agree with them and at times people you love do things you cannot support.

  25. BobB wrote:

    Richard Sterban’s bio on the ORB’s website says one of his hobbies is “collecting wine”.


    Vestal would be glad he’s just “collecting” it!

  26. wackythinker wrote:

    I’m not sure what AVFL meant by “Since the decision, if true, is only about 29 years and 11 months over due”. What decision would that be? To allow ORB to appear on the SN charts? You didn’t say what “the decision” was.

    Maybe there was no decision NOT to allow them on the charts 30 years ago. Maybe it’s just that it’s been that long since a s/g label promoted an ORB song to s/g radio.

    And as for Vestal being gone having anything to do with whether or not BG uses the Oaks: One appearance seems to be at the request of the Cathedrals (Farewell Celebration). The other (Freedom Band) appears to be not too long before Vestal passed away (maybe a year or so). And they did appear on 3 of the “Best of the Gospel Singing Jubilee” episodes, although that was old footage of the older group.

    With all this in mind, I’m not sure there’s much evidence to support the thought that Vestal influenced any intentional snubbing by Gaither of the ORB.

    And besides, BG has embraced others who have had a public “falling from grace” and returned to the fold (ie English & Patty, as well as his own brother).

    And I would also add that, contrary to speculations on previous threads, there is not always a direct corrolation between an artist’s appearing on Homecoming videos/tours and their recording for a Gaither-related label. Prime examples would include the Hoppers (recently left the label, but still on the HC tour), J & S Easter(same thing), Ivan Parker(never on a Gaither-related label), Reggie & Ladye Smith (never on ANY label), Andrae Crouch, Imperials, Perry’s, Greater Vision, Crabb Family, Joy Gardner, Florida Boys, Ben Speer, Ann Downing, Statler Brothers, Rex Nelon, and many more.

    Bill & Gloria are smart enough to use whatever artists they feel will appeal to their audience, even if they’re not able to sign them to one of their labels.

  27. cynical one wrote:

    Right after Jesus said “do not judge”, he also said, “by their fruits you shall know them”.

    Also, in the book of John, 4 times he commanded us to “love one another”. I don’t see a lot of LOVE gushing forth through this thread.

    But I have to admit I chuckled when I read the chapter heading.

  28. Norm Graham wrote:

    wackythinker: I believe the decision referred to is the new policy of the Singing News to allow songs on its chart recorded by artists who did not solely sing southern gospel music.

    A few years ago I asked the magazine why a song by the Oaks (can’t recall title), which was getting good airplay on SGM stations, was not on the SN chart.

    I was told the policy was to not include non-SGM artists on the charts regardless of how popular a song might be on SGM radio.

  29. apathetic wrote:

    “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.” (Psa 37:30)

    “With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.” (Psa 119:13)

    “Open thy mouth, judge righteously…” (Prov 31:9)

    Jesus commended Simon, “Thou hast rightly judged.” (Luke 7:43)

    “Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations.” (Ezek 22:2)

    “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Cor 6:2)

    “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor 6:3)

    There are many other passages and verses in the Bible about judging. While God is our ultimate Judge, He has also commanded us to judge according to the Word of God.

    According to the Webster’s Dictionary, to judge means “to discern, to distinguish, to form an opinion, to compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood.” Therefore, when you say that your neighbor is a “good person,” you are passing a judgment (forming an opinion) just as much as when you say that the thief is a “bad person.”

  30. tse wrote:

    #25…I guess it would be more “religiously correct” if he were just turning water into wine at the request of his mother. LOL

  31. Steve2 wrote:

    “Bill & Gloria are smart enough to use whatever artists they feel will appeal to their audience, even if they’re not able to sign them to one of their labels.”

    Absolutely. I suspect if Bill thought the inclusion of The Oaks on a Homecoming event or taping would sell a few more videos, he wouldn’t much care what Vestal or anyone else thought about it.

  32. RWH wrote:

    “Soon after her passing they started to appear more even becoming part of the Gaither Label.”

    The Oaks released their first Spring Hill release, (Gaither’s Label) “From The Heart” in 2001. Vestal passed 2003. In any case, if Vestal had that much influence on Spring Hill, and they cared that much about her opinion, why would they not remain a Spring Hill artist until their passing?

  33. natesings wrote:

    #26- The first label Ivan Parker was on when he went solo was Gaither owned or I guess co-owned Chapel (which later became Spring Hill). The Homecoming videos (other than the first few that were on Star Song) were on Chapel and then went to Spring House, now they are on Gaither Music Group.

  34. g wrote:

    My suggestion is for everyone hear to post the sins that are kept in the deepest of secrecy. Then each of us tell that person how bad and hypocritical they have been since that sin(s). Then wait our turn to be crucified when our sins are exposed. Will that happen? Not until Lucifer experiences more freezing conditions. For those here that are willing to destroy others , they will be judged under the same conditions. I for one want to display grace and understanding.

  35. Rick Hendrix wrote:

    First off -I appreciate the work for the Lord and our industry– Vestal Goodman and the Oak Ridge Boys have done. I appreciate each and every persons passion for our industry. And we all voice our opinions in a different manor. So, I will leave the majority of the post to everyone’s passion. I appreciate the Singing News Magazine allowing positive and faith based songs the opportunity to chart. The Singing news did have older policies in place to centralize our genre and its airplay. But, with this ever changing world we are currently revolving within, we see necessary changes where music and radio are concerned, and this change was addressed. For years radio stations have charted and played secular artist and understood the Singing News policies. I don’t see this changing the landscape very much for mainstream artist. I can see artist like the Oak Ridge Boys gaining a good part of the ground back under their feet. But, I am happy for my artist to see the benefits of a positive message that is rewarded, I am thankful for Singing News and their team for allowing these new changes, and I am excited for the radio stations to feel more in control of their positive music convictions.

    Thank you for playing our artist-

    PS- We have a children’s book hitting the stores in a few weeks for ‘Didn’t It Rain”
    I am excited kids will have a chance to hear Southern Gospel music in the class rooms and amongst their friends.

    Rick Hendrix

  36. Robert wrote:

    I’m sorry if it seemed like I judged the “Holy Roller’s”. I still stick with a prevailing subject that you will see me speak of a lot. That is most SG artists (that can) go to different genres because of $$$$. SG is the most poor genre of music. I think that is a shame. I also think it is a shame that no one seems to want to talk about it.

  37. Radioguy wrote:

    #25. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christians who drink. I don’t myself and don’t believe that you should, but there are many who don’t share my opinion. Some in my own church I’m sorry to say.

  38. Norm Graham wrote:

    Non-Biblical quotes:

    JD Sumner: “Professional gospel music is entertainment. . . I do not believe the stage of a gospel singing is a place for thunderous sermons and rip-roaring testimonies.”

    Late Noel Fox (bass singer with the Oaks): “The Goodmans could move an audience. But they insisted on doctrinalizing what they were doing. They almost single-handedly created a divisive force within the business. On the right were the people who were Bible thumpers taking their own pentecostal-style interpretation of the Book and applying it to entertainment.”

  39. Revpaul wrote:

    Okay, I know it’s a little nitpickety, but let’s at least agree that the word “artist” is singular and the plural is “artists”.

  40. Chris wrote:

    My two cents.

    1: Referring to #11, it’s actually called the Holiness Movement, not the Holy Movement. The movement was not a holy one - rather people were moving to a holy life (a state of holiness).

    2: The Oak Ridge Boys couldn’t even sing on the same stage as some part time groups I’ve heard (much less most full time groups) - vocally speaking, of course.

  41. Dexter wrote:

    Hey BobB…I was watching a video clip on a REALLY BIG name group…we’re talking MAJOR group’s website..they were in the kitchen…and sure enough…there was a wine rack right behind them full of their “Collection” LOL

  42. jb wrote:

    Just my humble opinion: When I think of SG, I do NOT think of Oak Ridge Boys….

  43. Ben Harris wrote:

    When the Oaks first started straying from gospel back in the ’70’s, the group I was with at the time had them booked for one of our sponsored concerts. They began their program back then saying they would sing sings that had a spiritual undertone. Their last song of the evening was “She’s a good hearted woman in love with a good timing man”. For the life of me I could not find the spiritual message in that, but hey, to each his own. I have no problem with the Oaks personally, they are who they are and once upon a time they were a great gospel quartet. Dewayne’s wife has come to hear us sing a few times and I appreciate that. I do see where the industry has raised a cautious eyebrow or two, and I do understand why. It is hard to say “I stand against this…..but I turn a blind eye to it here, because…………” It makes us look inconsistent.

  44. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I don’t have a problem with the Oaks being on the gospel music charts now. If their song is being played on gospel radio, then chart it.
    When it comes to the discussion of why the Oaks left gospel music, I think they left it even before they officially went country. What I mean by that statement is that there was very little gospel in most of the new songs they sang from 194-1977. Most of them were more vaguely inspirational with some moral message, but nothing about Christ and his atoning sacrifice for sin.

    In the late 60s or early 70s Duane wrote He Did It All for Me, a song that mentions Christ work on the cross. In the mid70s the Oaks are singing about an elderly childless couple who decides to name some imaginary children after their favorite songs. This song, Our Favorite Songs, is one of the corniest I’ve ever heard. Many gospel music fans want not only entertainment, but uplifting lyrics that contain scriptural truths. The Oaks were giving fans that in the mid70s. Since they were not ministering to the fans, going country was the right thing to do. They entertained folks and gave us some good four part harmony while singing mostly upbeat and clean lyrics.

    After reading this you might think that I’m an Oaks hater, but I’m not. I think their 2001 album, From the Heart, is great. I bought it for myself and for others as gifts. There are some great gospel songs on that album. Songs like “Show Me the Way to Go Home,” “I Know What Lies Ahead,” and “If Not for the Love of Christ” have lyrics that will bless and encourage the listener while giving us some great power harmony along the way.
    Like I said earlier, I have no problem with the Oaks charting today. If they are singing gospel music and the public likes it then let ‘em be on the charts. However, don’t trash all the groups like the Goodmans and Kingsmen for running them out of gospel music. I’m sure that those groups had some influence on the fans and their attitudes about the Oaks, but, in my opinion, the Oaks did not help the cause by singing tepid, ambiguous songs during the mid 1970s.

  45. John wrote:

    Mike(#44)makes an interesting observation about the Oaks’ musical direction in the 1970s prior to their “going country” by decade’s end.

    In truth, the Oaks had been flirting with the country market even while they were having hit gospel albums with HeartWarming Records in the 1970s.

    After the Oaks had fully crossed over to the country market, HeartWarming released a collection of songs the Oaks recorded with them during that time that reflect this.

    The songs on that album are not gospel songs per se. Songs like “Get Together”(also recorded by JD and the Stamps, I know), “Put Your Hand In The Hand”, and “Try A Little Kindness” were crossover pop hits. Even songs on that album that mentioned Jesus directly were not the kinds of gospel songs they had recorded in past decades. “I Believe In Jesus” was a rewrite of the pop hit “I Believe in Music”, while “Jesus Christ, What A Man” was a country song written by Bobby Bare.

    And even on their final HeartWarming release of new songs, 1973’s Dove Award winning “Street Gospel”, one of the songs, “Take My Hand”, was written by that well-known gospel songwriter Kenny Rogers.(!)

    Later, when they went to Columbia right before their switch, they recorded “The Baptism of Jessie Taylor”(a good song, but a country song nonetheless), and Allen Toussaint’s “Freedom For The Stallion”, a “message” song rather than a gospel song.

    Those examples are enough to demonstrate the Oaks’ musical restlessness during the 1970s, and foreshadow their eventual move to straight country music.

    While in no way excusing the conduct of certain other gospel artists toward the Oaks in that period, in light of what the ORB were doing musically, it’s perhaps understandable that those other gospel artists might have been uneasy sharing a stage with the Oaks at that time.

  46. Grave Digger wrote:

    Very interesting comments about the Oaks from a historical perspective. Using these analogies, I’d say that their country roots went back to the Smitty Gatlin days. One of their hit singles, “Less of Me”, was written by Glen Campbell. Glen was a fine writer, but he’s no Albert E. Brumley. I’d say his Christian music writing ranks right up there with Kenny Rogers as mentioned by the previous poster.

    Speaking of re-writes . . . they had a great hit with the Dottie Rambo penned “He Looked Beyond My Faults” in which she essentially wrote new words and applied them to the old Irish folk tune “Londonderry Air” or “Danny Boy”. I don’t think any group sang this song with more feeling than did the Oaks. I hope nobody connected this Irish tune to the premise that the Irish tend to visit the pubs. Could have been another nail in the coffin of the Oaks.

    All of that is to say this: I can’t help but feel that professional jealousy had much to do with the treatment the Oaks received from the aforementioned groups that refused to appear on stage with them. The multiple Dove Award winning Oaks could light up a stage like no other, and they were a tough act to follow.

    This wouldn’t be the first time that professional jealousy ruined or altered the career of a gospel music artist. Remember the “team”? If you didn’t play by the rules of Lister and Blackwood, you didn’t get to use their playing field. Everything old is new again.

  47. Chuck Peters wrote:

    The Oak Ridge Boys are professionals… and when they make a SG record.. SG radio should be playing it. I am not crazy about the song.. but this single is better and more “radio appropriate” than most of the stuff on many SG stations now. Quit playing JUNK.

    by the way.. you can preview the ORBs single, in its entirety.. here: http://www.southerngospelreporter.com

  48. Ben Harris wrote:

    I really think the comment of Blackwood and Lister is out of bounds and without merit. The Blackwood/Statesmen tag team approach was for their own sponsored concerts and had precious little effect on other promoters sponsoring their own events. I have worked concerts where the Blackwoods, Statesmen, Imperials, Speers, Kingsmen, Claudt Indian Family, Chucks, and yes even the Oaks, were on the same program. It was a very common event in the 60’s and 70’s. To re-write history does no one any good. I do agree the Oaks in the 70’s, especially with Willie Wynn, were a great quartet. I suggest that the fans of the Oaks, (which includes me by the way) go back and listen to that groups harmony and blend compared to recent recordings.

  49. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I agree with Ben that the Oaks harmony and blend during 70s with Willie was a great quartet. I didn’t really become a fan of Joe Bonsall until the mid 80s with their song “Little Things.” Joe is one of the few tenors who has gotten better with age. He has a great personality and I really like him now, but I always thought the group’s blend with Willie was smoother and tighter. My favorite line-up is Willie, Duane, Bill, and Noel. On the “Light” album Noel uses his upper register very well on “It Won’t Be Long” and “Through It All.”

  50. Tim wrote:

    I have been a long time ORB fan. There’s Gonna be a Great Great Day, written by Bill Anderson was a favorite on mine in the late 60’s. I was 9 years old at the time so that should tell you an appeal to younger people helps to build and sustain an industry. Foes of CCM should keep in mind that in the 60’s our music was very reflective of Pop and Modern Country of that era. The Goodman’s band in the 70’s was just as country as Conway Twitty’s band and just as good. When you hear current artist such as Austin’s Bridge and they reflect Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio etc… let’s not be the first to criticize. They are only blending CCM and Southern in a package that may appeal to someone that may help sustain our audience for a few more years.

  51. Grave Digger wrote:

    Ben, I’m sorry if you thought my comment about the Statesmen and Blackwoods was out of bounds and without merit. However, we must agree to disagree on this matter.

    Surely you haven’t forgotten the way Jake Hess and the Imperials was received by the world of gospel music. Who do you suppose let the promoters know that they wouldn’t be appearing with the newly formed Imperials?

    Who hired Don Butler when the Sons of Song were at the pinnacle of their career?

    Of the groups you mentioned singing on stage with the Statesmen/Blackwood team, only two of them (Klaudts and Chucks) were not Skylite recording artists. I’m sure you know that at this time, the Statesmen and Blackwoods owned Skyite records.

    Let me say very respecfully that I don’t believe I’m the one who is re-writing history.

  52. CG wrote:

    The Oaks took Gospel music where it had never been before, and places that had never heard it before. They were the first group to have a drummer and full band. Yes, they grew their hair out, wore flashy clothes, had a high energy show (still do) but they were cool, and through their look and music, turned me on to the message. They took a lot of heat back in the 70’s when they opened for Johnny Cash in Las Vegas…..”how could they play Sin City?”…. What those narrow minded folks didn’t know, was that they were singing GOSPEL songs to audiences that had NEVER heard it. To this day, they still pay tribute to their roots at every show whether it be a State Fair, Performing Arts Center, or Casino. Yes, they sing Gospel for the gamblers, smokers, and drinkers the same as they do for the ”Holy”. Much like what JD said, I have heard William Lee Golden say ” We are entertainers, not evangelists”. Maybe the reason some of those groups didn’t want them to be on the same show was that they had too hard a time following them. They still remain a tough act to follow.

  53. A. Nonemus wrote:

    RE: #25,
    So what if Richard Sterban collects wines?

    I’m a gospel music singer, and guess what? I’M A WINE DRINKER!!!! My doctor actually said it would be beneficial to my health if I had a GLASS of red wine each evening.

    Guess me and Sterban are both going to hell now.

  54. AcesGirl wrote:

    I can’t believe I’m reading what I’ve been reading in some of these posts here on these comments. How can some of you even call yourselves Christians? Go read your bibles. Maybe some of you will learn something by doing that.

  55. OrbFan wrote:

    I am an Orb fan & friend of theirs. If they made mistakes 30 years ago and asked God for forgiveness its under the blood and thats good enough for me. But if they cheated on their wives it is wrong whether I like them or not. Don’t let the fact that we like them overlook right and wrong. No one should get a pass. I think the Orb would agree it was wrong if it happened. Telling someone wrong is wrong is not non-Christian. Its very Christ-like.

  56. Bobbie wrote:

    Gee, why bring up sins that are in the past? I believe the Boys have turned over a new leaf (if all the above is true) and seek to be what God wants them to be. If a person sins; then repents - we should be so glad rather than bringing up the past.

    Maybe some are so perfect they don’t have anything to hide; but I doubt it.

  57. Dan wrote:

    I’m floored with how petty many Christians can be. I am floored by an earlier posting in reference to the fact that we are to judge people with their little scripture quotes. I think if that guy would have been around when The woman in the bible was about to be stoned, I think that guy would have gone ahead and thrown it!!! I think some of us had better wake up!! For us to really have the authority to judge others means that we have equality with God, we are without blemish, And that we have FULL understanding of God’s will. Let me say I know without a doubt that there is noone out there, including those bashing the oaks and myself who have achieved this!! I’m reminded about a friend whom I tried to witness to who was a homosexual. He talked about how he had been ridiculed his whole life by Christians. I will never forget when he said “If that is your God, I don’t want any part of Him”. My point here is that I nor any of you know the ORB as they are today. The only person that knows their heart is God!! If they truly wish to come back to SGM, who are any of us to refuse that. I go back to my friend and recognize that today’s church has forgotten about GRACE!! It is ironic to me that Grace has been extended to all of us by a loving merciful God, but we cannot pass it on to the lost or hurting. Most Christians stand ready to beat them down and drive them further away from Christ. Remember this!! we have the ability to encourage or criticize, to win souls or drive them further away, to love others the way Christ loved the church or to hate. I think a big irony is a song on one of the ORB’s biggest albums “Bobbie Sue”. The last song was “Would They Love Him Down In Shreveport Today?” In the song, it talks about how would you receive Christ in today’s world if he was seen talking to “junkees, whores, and thieves”. If we can’t celebrate a singing group like the ORBs coming back to the fold after many years and forget about things that happened 20 or 30 years ago. How can we ever expect to be the witnesses that God has called us to be???

  58. houston wrote:

    i have been reading with intrest what all has been said i think the insider and buisness stuff you all have been batting about is usless info everyone know the orb started out as a county act and went gospel and then back to country so for anyone to act like they don,t belong is crazy they were acepted the first time they came to gospel and they should be now or everyone in gospel is a bunch of fakers and liers and by the way most real good artest to come out in the 50 60 70 had a gospel back ground from the stadlers to sam cook whitney Houston and johnny cash and as fars as bill gaither goes i just saw a production of his that had nothing to do with gospel it was on RFD it was a country home coming that was packed with lieing cheating drinking songs so i guess BG has gone country also. and oh look i didn’t even have to quote the bible to make my point

  59. niven wrote:

    …nor did you have to use any periods to make your point.

  60. huston wrote:

    what can i say man i was on a roll . < i didn’t see you disagree

  61. David Coles wrote:

    My wife and I unsed to enjoy a goup of native american singers that went by the neme of Claudt Family Singers–they performed in churches around tjhe United States, Can you give me any information on this great group? They were active in the 1960’s & 1970’s. Would really appreciate some info on the group. Thanks much!!!!

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