Fake Florida Boys for Dinner

When last we heard from the fake Florida Boys, they were performing to not-bad reviews from a few readers but seemed to be keeping a generally low profile. Now, it looks like they’re slated to start appearing at the Showplace Dinner Theater in the Smokies. Theater management is in a dispute with the previous headliner, Mike Walker, and the FFB have been hired to replace him.

The Mountain Press picks up the story from there (h/t, DY):

Walker’s guaranteed payment in the contract combined with low attendance led the theater owners to look for a way to replace Walker with entertainers that would cost less, Wilson said. The Florida Boys will be the new act at Showplace, according to the theater marquee.

“The deal they struck with the Florida Boys is all about money,” Wilson said.

First of all, I still don’t get how the Smokies became the new Florida. All the way from Knoxville Tennessee … please welcome, the Florida Boys! With any luck the crowd won’t still be laughing (or looking for a map) by the time the boys kick off their first tune.

But anyway … ah, southern gospel … the only genre where a d-list country soloist (I assume this is the guy we’re talking about; I couldn’t find a website for him), unable to draw a crowd, can still command a bigger flat than one of the oldest names in the industry. Hard to tell about the details of the FFB’s arrangement with the theater. Could be they’re working for less than Walker, or (depending on how you interpret that line about Walker’s “guaranteed payment” being a problem) they could just be singing for a cut from the take at the door.

But in any case, I guess this finally answers that old question about what’s in a name: in sg, not much, evidently. OTOH, theater work sure beats hoofing it around the backwaters of Appalachia in a fuel-hungry bus, assuming the folks at the Showplace will prefer “Who am I” to “Who’s Your Daddy.”

Of course, anyone who catches the show, let us know how the FFBs do, or at least how the chicken fried chicken is.

Update: Ok, turns out they’re NOT selling dinner with the show, but evidently there will be plenty of cheese. Check out that photo.

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  1. SouthernGospelBlog.com » Saturday News Roundup on 02 Aug 2008 at 7:26 am

    […] Waller’s New Florida Boys have lined up a dinner theater gig. Averyfineline has the story. Sounds like they will be at the Showplace Dinner Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN. Of course, […]


  1. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    “Of course, anyone who catches the show, let us know how the FFBs do, or at least how the chicken fried chicken is.”

    Chicken fried chicken? Never seen that before…evidently the Florida Boys won’t be the only talent on premises.

    (Sorry, Doug, just giving you a hard time! :P )

  2. Glen Asbury wrote:

    This is probably the most frivolous post I’ve ever put up on any site anywhere, but so what? I love food of all kinds… :)

    Daniel, check Cracker Barrel’s menu; you’ll find chicken fried chicken prominently displayed there. I have had it a number of times, and it is quite tasty, though far from fat-free.

  3. Dee Dee wrote:

    We are in Pigeon Forge a lot and my family likes ‘conventional quartet music’ so I thought I’d check the Showplace out. Their website doesn’t give much in, just gives you a number to call, 3 of them actually.

    All calls are answered saying ‘You have reached Patty Wasack, please leave a message’. That doesn’t sound very promising.

  4. Levi wrote:

    Here’s a couple of links to the broken JPG’s from the site. Still not really much info:



  5. Don wrote:

    Hooray for the Florida Boys! Sounds to me like they have landed a very sweet deal. No fuel bills or relying on “love offerings” to get them to their next venue.
    Charlie Waller is a smart business man. Rest assured that he got exactly what he wanted or he wouldn’t be doing it.

    Do I detect a little jealousy?

    Good luck to the Florida Boys and I will buy a ticket to see your show when I am in Pigeon Forge!

  6. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    It wasn’t a typo. “Chicken Fried Chicken” is a real restaurant term for a certain method of frying chicken.

    Here’s a recipe:

    Now…admittedly, training chickens to cook their own kind so humans can eat it is pretty cruel!

  7. Dee Dee wrote:

    Levi, I had those links but it doesn’t tell you when the dinner shows are, the price or how to get reservations except calling the numbers that seem to be an individual not the business. I sent an email to the email addy but no response.

    I hope they do well but many folks like to have their plans made before they get to their destination (we are some of them) so not being able to reach a live person or get a return call or email may count us out.

  8. Norm Graham wrote:

    Site says tentative starting date for the Florida Boys at the Showplace is August 20. It provides a couple of phone numbers.

    Befoire the 20th Charlie Waller will be busy with his Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. Florida Boys will be at the Reunion in Knoxville Aug 13-16.


  9. Drummingdrew wrote:

    I wonder if the Florida Boys moving to East Tennessee will afford Josh Garner an opportunity to rejoin them. Word has it that he is residing in that area. That would be a good deal for him…..if it ends up as permanant as the Kingdom Heirs have been at Dollywood. On a different note, I will be attending Jason Waldroup’s final concert with GV this weekend. I will try to post a short review.

  10. Leebob wrote:

    Sounds like it’s run as haphazard as many of the SG events. Then we dare ask, “What’s wrong with SG?”

    C’mon people let’s get a clue!

  11. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Who has the best fried chicken in the South?
    Pork is good in Tennesse and Kentucky.
    Fish is better in the north.

  12. nonsgfan wrote:

    As a kentucky boy, I canNOT believe that somebody actually doesn’t know what chicken fried chicken in.

    Thats food blasphemy!!! go to cracker barrell

  13. gc wrote:

    There is a niche market for that kind of SG act. Ron Blackwood has done extremely well in the Smokies but Triumphant struggled to consistently break the 100 mark. You must have a great PR and market person that hits the pavement to make that deal work. It is not an easy task and many have tried and failed at placing a SG act in a theatre full time.(Pigeon Forge and Branson). Even Gaither had a failed attempt in Branson and I thought he never failed.

  14. Trent wrote:

    Please elaborate about the Gaither/Branson venture. I never heard about that one, but I’d love to.

  15. not a grammarian wrote:

    Depending on your taste, Cracker Barrel or Popeye’s are OK, but the best fried chicken in the South is probably at some “meat and 3″ that only locals know about.
    Beg to differ with you on fish being better in the north - Hawaii is the place for fish, hands down

  16. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Tell that to the locals in Down East Maine.

  17. Leebob wrote:

    nonsgfan…”food blasphemy”…may I use that line? It would go well along with my belt being a fence around a chicken grave yard.

  18. natesings wrote:

    For those that have a Golden Corral (similar to Ryans or Ponderosa if you happen to know of those) they crank out some great chicken.

  19. D. Ann Bailey wrote:

    I was in Pigeon Forge this weekend, Showcase has a sign out front. Coming Soon the Florida Boys - 8/20.

  20. Ben Harris wrote:

    When Chrysler was purchased by Diamler from Germany, I don’t remember anyone referring to Dodge as “fake Dodge” or “Fake Jeep”, or even “Fake Chrysler”. Why do we refer to the current Florida Boys as fake? It is a name, and a great attempt at keeping a historic name in the business and at the forefront of this music we call gospel. These attacks on this group of men is without merit. Doug, I love your insight and most of the time I agree with you, almost 100%, but in this regard I think you are wrong, and feel it is high time to let pull in the barbs.

  21. Steve wrote:

    I live in Pigeon Forge, so I’m not repeating hearsay like much of what I read on these blogs. Say what you want about Charlie Waller (A lot of people HAVE said a lot of things and, in most cases, Charlie ends up proving them WRONG!), but he’s put together a quartet that should be emulated by more of the quartets today. They have awesome harmony, they dress the part, and they’re true professionals. Charlie is keeping a revered name alive and paying homage to the first quartet he ever saw in person. “Fake” Florida Boys? Not by a long shot!!! One more thing … when was the last time anyone saw a palmetto tree in Nashville?

  22. Steve wrote:

    A word about the “chicken fried chicken” thing … if anyone in these blogs had been responsible enough to actually call Charlie and confirm some of your “facts,” you would have known that there will be no food served. As I understand it, the tables are coming out and theater seats are going in … sounds like it’s going to be a class act. In the words of J.D., “I can’t wait!”

  23. DRL wrote:

    The difference between Chrysler and the Fake FB is, of course, the people. When you keep the product basically the same and the people basically the same, and only change the management, that’s one thing.

    But when you totally change the product and the people … Get real! You went to see the Cathedrals because of George and Glen. The FB were Les, Darryl and Glen. You could replace a few warm bodies now and again, but the core is the people, which in the case of music, (especially sg) IS the product!

    Try to imagine going to see Alabama, or the Oak Ridge Boys, getting to the show and realizing it was a completely different set of ppl putting on the show. How would you feel?

    I would feel like I had been ripped off and was being played for a fool! The Fake FB … no different.

  24. Ben Harris wrote:

    Naw you missed the point entirely. The product is the music, ie Dodge etc. The owners and managers of the company are the ones in charge…regardless if it is to your liking or mine. Charlie Waller has done a lot for gospel music, and he is keeping an old name from going away. Rather than degrade him for this process it seems to me we should prop him up. Les, Glen and Darryl, in one accord, made this possible for Charlie. Certainly one would not expect those three men to continue on at their age. There must be a time when we allow our heros to retire, but that does not mean that the name of the group they happened to be with should retire also. As to seeing the Oaks with a different lineup….I have been doing that very thing for the last 40 years or so. There is not one person currently in the group that was in the group when I first heard them. As to Alabama, even though I made my living in that genre of music for many years, I am far from being a fan. Randy Owen was the glue, and I told their producer that the first demo we ever made of them, long before they were nationally known. The rest of the guys were a decent garage band at best. Randy could have gone out on his own, but he didn’t do so because of his relationship to the other guys. The offer was extended, and he turned it down.

  25. GH wrote:

    What happened to the young piano player that had joined the FL Boys? He is no longer in the photos or listed as a member in anything I’ve seen.

  26. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    “Fake” is a term that should be applied when a “former member” “revives” a legendary name in an attempt to capitalize.

    The word “fake” doesn’t apply to the current Florida Boys. Charlie Waller must have acquired the name appropriately or else he wouldn’t have received Les Beasley’s blessing at NQC last year. There was sufficient hoopla made of Les’, Derrall’s, and Glen’s retirement along with a gap between them quitting and Waller’s group getting underway…nothing fake about any of it, that I can see.

    Now, “fake” in the sense that some might go hear the group expecting the three legends to be there…maybe. But that’s no more fake that going to see any group today and finding out one or more members have changed.

    I stood in line for a Gaither Vocal Band/Signature Sound concert a couple of years ago, and I listened to people in line wonder out loud whether or not Mark Lowry was going to be singing with the Vocal Band that night. This was after Marsh Hall and Wes Hampton had joined the group. Lowry was long gone.

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