Professional jealousy

Insightful remarks from Grave Digger on southern gospel’s ambivalent relationship with crossover acts:

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.

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  1. Bari-Tone-Def wrote:

    As an artist, it inspires me to come on stage after another artist who has just left the crowd astonished and in an uproar. When we take the stage first, I only hope that we can give the next group something to shoot for.

    Pass the corn please.

  2. quartet-man wrote:

    I think there is something to that. Some people can really get sanctimonious when jealousy creeps in or their turf is threatened. I have seen it far too much. Sometimes they know exactly what they are doing, but feel justified by bringing these issues into it, or other times they are just clouded by the jealousy and don’t realize they are letting it affect their stance. Years ago my brother and I were going to teen choir (we had both been members for a while.) We got there and my brother said we weren’t going up there to sing. His supposed complaint was the style of music being too secular sounding I think. We finally did and I found out later that he was upset with the director over something else. It is my strong opinion that he was being difficult and took me unknowingly along with him because he was trying to make
    a point to the director over the supposed offense and not at all about objections to the style of music. He didn’t seem to have a problem singing it later (even not too long after we got there and a member came out and talked to us a time or two.) That is the sort of thing I am talking about.

    I am not saying that some people weren’t genuinely upset about the Oaks direction at all. Some wanted more of an evangelistic service and the Oaks weren’t doing that. If you look at history, The Imperials and Stamps were doing a lot of things the Oaks took heat for. Going to Vegas, singing pop songs (the Imperials did a full album of them) etc. however, although both groups received criticism for these things, the Oaks seemed to receive far more venom from certain people from what I understand. Some groups complained about their country western leanings, but listened to true country music on the radio in their bus while the Oaks were not doing the indecent type of songs that might have been heard on those country stations. Seems hypocritical to me.

  3. Phil Boles wrote:

    Surely by encompassing other genres of music and spreading out their musical talent (lets not neglect that fact, the Oaks are amazingly talented) they have been able to reach a much greater audience than many “strictly” SG groups. This could have had a great effect on people as they heard about the gospel through song whilst at a “country” concert.

    Whatever their motives back in the 1970’s for moving away from the SG genre, they have reach many, many people and could have planted the seed of a gospel interest in many people.

    This is first post…. :)

  4. speakingofjealousy wrote:

    on another note or maybe the same you have to go listen to a song on

    i think it is a new one one that i have not heard but it does not make any since. now jesus is praying for them to win a dove or grammy. you have to hear it. you will puke or am i being jealous na you will puke

  5. irishlad wrote:

    #2 quartet-man, nice post you are indeed a knowledgeable chap. Very interested to know more about the non-gospel album by the Imps. For instance the era, record label, song selection etc. Also does anyone else know of mainstream sg artists doing the same(apart from Danny Gaither)?

  6. Robert wrote:


  7. Tom wrote:


    I believe #2 quartet-man was referring to the Imperials’ “Time to Get it Together” album, which featured pop hits that had either Christian-leaning lyrics, or at the very least strong spiritual connotations–songs like “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Let It Be,” “Teach Your Children,” and “Jesus Made Me Higher.” You can see a full list of songs from that album at

  8. Tom wrote:


    Your comment is not only poorly written, but absurd.

    I am not a fan of Young Harmony, I roll my eyes at the Dove Award fiasco from last year, and I’ve even raised questions in comments on this blog in the past regarding the validity of the medical miracle Johnathan talks about in his testimony (which was posted on their website at the time, although I don’t know if it still is).

    But the song you cite (co-written with Jim Brady and Tony Wood) says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like what you have implied. I listened to it, I read the lyrics that are posted in the blog portion of their MySpace site, and I don’t care much for the song. But there is NOTHING in that song that could be interpreted as you’ve suggested, even if you use the most tortured twists of logic in your interpretation.

    Get a life and quit making ridiculous ad hominem attacks on other people. I’m sure there are plenty of valid questions regarding Young Harmony that one could raise, since they’ve come up before. This is NOT one of them.

  9. John wrote:

    Quartet-man may have been speaking of the Imperials’ eponymous 1972 release(Impact 3165)which went even further down the pop road than “Time To Get It Together”.

    That album had songs written by people like Ray Stevens, Carole King, and Richard Carpenter…and even had a song first recorded by Stevie Wonder.

    That album was notable as the first one done with Sherman Andrus…and was recorded at the time when they were backing Elvis Presley vocally(before JD and the Stamps got that gig), and they were teetering on the border of gospel and pop…ultimately opting to remain in gospel.

    The two albums mentioned in this discussion represent the Imperials’ closest attempts at crossing over into pop music completely.

  10. irishlad wrote:

    Thanks anyway to all those reponses, i get the gest now, they didn’t really record a non-gospel record opps silly me.

  11. cynical one wrote:

    “Time To Get It Together” was not so much a non-gospel album as a MIX of gospel and mainstream. It did have some the old spirituals like “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, “Amen” and “This Train”, and Randy Stonehill’s “Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation” (probably my favorite on that album), along with pop/country songs that “had spiritual overtones”, or could be construed as such.

    And according to the Big God Records website, that recording did not include Sherman, but rather Greg Gordon. The next, self-titled Imperials album would have been Sherman’s first record with the group.

    “TTGIT” was about the same time the group made the decision to leave Elvis’ show, and join Jimmy Dean’s Vegas act. In fact, they had worked with Jimmy Dean on TV prior to the album that immediately preceeded this one, and alluded to that fact in one of the talk segments on “Gospel’s Alive And Well”. They may have worked with both of those acts for a short period of time, before they were forced to choose, due to scheduling conflicts.

    Some of this I remember from personal knowledge at the time, some I’ve gleaned from Joe Moscheo’s book “The Gospel Side Of Elvis”. An interesting read.

  12. J wrote:

    How true, how true….try to book in the late 50’s and all of the 60’s anywhere in the state of CA without the blessing of Grimes, Blackwood, Lister. It just didn’t happen.

  13. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    Larry Norman wrote “Sweet Song of Salvation.” While it was a Jesus music song, the Stamps and the Statesmen also covered it. I wish we could move back to the day when groups would simply sing the best songs out there. For example, many SG groups sang Andrae Crouch’s songs even though he was a combination of Jesus music and black gospel.

  14. cynical one wrote:

    Mike - You’re right; I’m wrong. It was Larry Norman.

    One thing I didn’t care for in those days was the fact that, as you alluded, many the top groups all sang the same songs. So if you bought albums from 3 or 4 of your favorite artists, you may have 3 or 4 versions of the same songs. Or if 3 of your favorite groups were on the same concert, you may hear the same song 3 times. And all the groups thought they had to do their biggest songs, even if someone else had already sung it that night.

    And for years, this showed up on the SN radio charts, with 3 or 4 artists having top 40 hits on the same song. I like the way the groups do now, where you seldom see 2 or 3 top artists recording a song at the same time. A recent exception to this was “Truth Is Marching On”, recorded by both Gold City and Legacy 5. At least at NQC the first year that song was out, since GC had the first radio single, L5 had the class to not sing it until the last night.

    Of course, you often see 2nd or 3rd or 4th tier groups covering top-tier artists’ songs.

    I think, for the most part, the groups/labels/producers DO try to select the best song, no matter who the writer is or what genre that writer comes from. Sometimes they look first to their own stable of writers, but most don’t limit themselves there. It’s all about the song!

    I remember making a comment to someone at one of the major s/g labels a few years ago about radio promotion, asking why they didn’t push their own writers’ songs first (for the sake of synergy). The reply was that they promote the best song, regardless of who wrote it. I was impress they thought that way, rather than only thinking about getting the ASCAP & BMI royalties coming back to the company.

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