The Rediscoveries; Or, How Dean Hopper Found His Voice

Consider the difference between this:

And this:

I’m actually not sure I prefer the big symphonic too-muchness of the latter version (though that wood-wind descant in the first verse is pretty neat and the brass section is a classy touch), but I don’t think anyone can listen to that earlier clip and think that the Hoppers would have gone on to dominate the 90s and remain strong well into the new century the way they have (of course, as you can also see/hear, Kim’s coming along didn’t hurt either). I mean, honestly, the icky, pitchy, self-conscious straight tones that Hopper slathers down during his verse in that first recording? Eee gad. That’s the kind of uninspired and flat-flooted vocalizing that gets you fired, unless of course you’re the boss’s son, which, in this case, evidently gets you transformative vocal lessons or a throat transplant or something else equally miraculous.

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  1. rr wrote:

    Kim, in my opinion, is a wonderful and versatile singer. When you sing with someone like her, you should learn to match tones as well as possible. I believe that is what has happened here. Their vocal placement on the second clip is similar.

    Something has also happened to the precision with which they all sing. It would seem that perhaps there has been some excellent coaching done.

  2. dd wrote:

    was that Greg Bentley with the Hoppers????

  3. Adam Edwards wrote:

    That was indeed Greg Bentley…

  4. Brett wrote:

    Kim Hopper’s new solo cd is boring. She is better with singing solo as a group. Dean’s earlier version with the Hoppers is also dull. Talk about uninspired for singing about your future home in heaven. It’s a good thing he married Kim.

  5. Brett wrote:

    Here is a better clip of Dean singing in that era of the Hoppers.

  6. st wrote:

    By the way, the old clips are from the PTL days and stage. This is Jim & Tammy Bakker’s stage before the scandal broke. Although, I don’t think they hosted the shows. However, every major group during the 80s recorded their video there. I’ve seen the Nelons, Gold City, and Perrys videos from that stage. Just interesting info.

  7. Ward Hodges wrote:

    Anyone also notice that in the first version he says, “I’m is a straight betwixt” and in the newer version he changes the word to “between?” We need to get back to the good ol’ KJV…can I get an Amen!!??!!

  8. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Actually Jim & Tammy (in conjunction with the Singing News) sponsored a week of Southern Gospel music at PTL (Gospel Appreciation Week). The videos were sold — 4 videos = 4 nights with 3 groups per night. Cost for the 4 video set was appx $80.00
    example 1987

  9. Anonymity wrote:

    Sounds great. Kim H. is losing her voice though b/c Sister TaRanda is punching Kim out of the ring.. :D Kim is a great vocalist but is starting to lose her highness. I happen to know of a good example. On the Hoppers’ cd “The Ride”, Kim sings almost all of “Let the Redeemed Say So.” She does a decent job until she gets nearly to the end where she starts to fade out and the rest of the group fades in…her voice cracks Sis. TaRanda’s voice doesn’t though! lol :D

  10. Seaton wrote:

    Anyone who has followed he Hoppers for any length of time knows that they all had vocal training/lessons/coaching during their rise in the 1990s. I think that is one reason they are where they are today within the industry. They took the necessary steps needed to perfect their craft. If only more artists within the industry would follow that lead.

  11. Leebob wrote:

    #7 Ward - please, please, PLEASE take that argument elsewhere. Thsi argument has done more to harm Christianity than any other. Neither side would know the originals if they were walking down the road barefoot!

  12. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    This is the Greg Bentley that was with the Hoppers for about five years.
    When Greg talks about his hometown, he really talking hometown. Small town with the highway overpass towering over the local fairgrounds.

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    #11 LeeStinkingBob :), I took #7 as a joke poking fun, but I could be wrong.

  14. Leebob wrote:

    #13 quartet-man I think that is a name that NSGF will not soon live down soon so I wear it as a badge. On this site I am never too sure. There have been times I tried to make a joke on here and got, well, you know. LOL!!!

  15. WackyStinkingThinker wrote:

    Hey, Lee-Stinking-Bob: You’re not alone. Much that I’ve said here in jest has been taken WAAAAAAAY to seriously. We seem to wear our feelings (and/or our fandom) on our sleeves a little too much around here.

  16. Leebob wrote:

    WST I think we all need to go by shorter names because my fingers are getting tired.


    What’s the point of this blog? Oh yeah, I’m sorry people but the Hopper’s were not the Hopper’s (as we know them) until Kim came on board. Dean has improved immensely over the years, whether it is through mimicking Kim’s sound, practice, or vocal lessons. Regardless, I give him his props for trying to catch up to his wife.

  17. quartet-man wrote:

    LeeStinkingBob it is a funny name. I thought you came up with it. So, someone else did first? :) NonSGFan? :)It is fun .

  18. quartet-man wrote:

    LST, As I recall, Mark Mclellan of Canada shortened my name to qt-man once on the gospel section when I first joined the Oaks board. Then, Oaks tenor Joe Bonsall started calling me q-man and it has stuck.

    As far as the Hoppers, I liked comparing the two clips even though the song isn’t my cup of tea. Dean is good harmony singer now with occasional leads being nice. Connie does well on the alto. I can hardly ever hear Claude, but without Kim’s voice even as they are now, the group wouldn’t be near the level they are or have been. Of course, Kim isn’t the only soprano who could do well there, but maybe one on a short list of ones I know of professionally in SG. Taranda would work, but of course there isn’t much of a likelihood of that happening. If it ever came to it (say Claude and Connie ever decided to retire) Taranda on soprano, Kim on alto, Dean on tenor and Tony Greene on bass might be interesting (if he has enough range) :) Or they could swap parts back and forth depending on whose hits they were singing. :)

  19. quartet-man wrote:

    Sorry, typo, LSB.

  20. quartet-man wrote:

    By the way, quartet-stinking-man or q-stinking-man aren’t off the table. ;)

  21. Stephilovessg wrote:

    I personally love both Kim & Dean. If you go back far enough they BOTH have come a long way vocally. For a true blast from the past, check out this link to the first song they sang together on stage when Kim joined the group. You will definitely hear a nasal tone that has since departed from Kim’s vocals. (IMO - she sounds a LOT like Amy Lambert (Templeton) in this clip)

  22. John wrote:

    In a similar vein, anyone care to check out Janet Paschal(a favorite of Doug’s)from, say, 1975 to about 1978, and compare her then shrill, thin tones to the extremely full and warmly expressive ones she began exhibiting during her later years with the Rex Nelon Singers and has hit her vocal stride with today as a soloist?

    I’m not aware of any video Janet was in during the earlier period in question(with the LeFevres, later the Rex Nelon Singers, still later the Nelons), but more and more examples keep springing up all the time(cueing Dean Adkins, perhaps).

    If they do, I think the obvious growth in Janet’s vocal abilities that would be evident upon viewing would make Doug’s main point here even more than the before and after Dean Hopper comparisons on this thread.

    OK, so Janet didn’t have the built-in job security afforded Dean by virtue of having parents own the group. It might be even more remarkable in that light.

  23. Tad Kirkland wrote:

    I LOVE early Kim Greene Hopper…the pure country, Dolly Partoness of it all. She is a natural singer who still sounds great. Age tends to lower women’s voices.
    I don’t know if it’s the womanly sound of Greg Bentley or the fact that he is singing above Connie, but that era of the Hoppers doesn’t jive with me. In watching the later “Citizen” clip, I just kept wondering what Sandy Patti was thinking.
    I also love early Janet Paschal as well as the extremely different voice of hers that has progressed through the years. It’s almost as if she’s intentionally holding back–possibly about of necessity for longevity’s sake. It’s working for her. I think she was at a great vocal place with her Jimmy Swaggart and early Canaan/Word records…the throaty singing was gone, but she still had clear high tones. There is footage of Janet Paschal with the Nelons on Gaither released videos of the Gospel Jubilee in the late 90’s. If anyone is interested, I’ll sell my copies for 1 million dollars.

  24. Ward Hodges wrote:

    #14 Leebob - Sorry Leebob…I guess my sarcasm should have been a little more evident. I couldn’t agreee with you more.

  25. Leebob wrote:

    #24 Ward - We’re cool…q-stinking-man set me straight.

    QSM - “Leestinkingbob” came from NSGF when he was on one of his rants a few blogs back. I joked with it a couple of times but I guess Doug liked it as well. I’ll tell you the story of how I was dubbed Leebob sometime.

  26. nonSGfan wrote:


  27. Leebob wrote:


  28. nonSGfan wrote:

    I personally think that he’s a terrible singer.

    That’s my perrrsonal opiiinion.

    but opinions are like armpits, everybody has 2 and they both stink.

  29. Leebob wrote:

    NGSF, thou thinkest everybody is a terrible singer. So tell me NGSF, just whom doest thee likest?

  30. Cliff Cerce wrote:

    We did quite a few concerts with The Hopper Brothers and Connie in the late 70’s. Dean was a teenager back then (about 15 or 16, as I recall), and I have been thrilled to see him become a very good singer over these years.

    Family groups are a different breed than other groups. Non-family groups audition and select the singers they want - to fit them in with their sound and to get the right blend of voices.

    Family groups that excel find a way to make it work with their own family members. Clearly, Dean has worked very hard in perfecting his craft - and I give kudos to him and his family for the excellence they have achieved.

  31. NonSGfan wrote:

    Guy Nimrod, Jason Crabb, Kim Hopper, David Phelps (no longer SG i guess), The booth Brothers, (because of attitude), Austins bridge……….Russ Taff, larnelle Harris, Sheri Easter….

    I could go on in the contemporary market..
    Michael English, Smokie Norful, ect.

  32. jgurnett wrote:

    Could there be a more annoying voice in SG than that of Greg Bentley?

  33. Leebob wrote:

    NSGF…wait a minute…you like Russ Taff and the ever so harry Guy Penrod???? I can’t believe you can get past the hair to hear the voice.

  34. nonSGfan wrote:

    Just because I disagree with femininity, doesn’t mean I can’t hear talent.

  35. Leebob wrote:

    This is just a “jaw-drop” moment for me NSGF. You actually admitted to someone having talent. BTW, that is actually a pretty good list with the exception of Russ Taff and Mike English in the more recent years. These two men sound like they have just wore out their voices, to me anyway. My suspicions are that Jason Crabb will soon follow in their steps vocally.

  36. NonSGfan wrote:

    yea, Jason can’t hold up the way he sings and preaches. I’m speaking of the earlier years of Russ and Michael. I know talent very well. But I also know a spirit of rebellion when I see it.

    don’t think im relenting hahaha

  37. wby wrote:

    So…I think that everyone should know that NO ONE from the hoppers had vocal lessons {even during the “hoperera” aka the ’90s} they have simply progressed with talent and abilities over the years. And Mr. Bob man dude, I agreed with everything you said up until the Guy Penrod hair thing. Why should gospel singers have conform their style so that people don’t get “offended”?? He’s an amazing singer with a heart of gold, and his kids have been raised in the sight of God and are excellent children. Model children, if you will.

  38. Marilyn VanHoose wrote:

    I believe that we better be careful what we say about our brothers and sisters who are singing for God. God will hold you accountable. You better apologize or you will answer to God. Do you have the courage to publish this email?

  39. Greg wrote:



  40. Christine wrote:

    The one I like better is the one with Kim in it.I like both of Kim’s cds very much and I hope she makes a new cd very soon.

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