Monday Roundup

[Note: For some reason this post disappeared from the site recently (second time this has happened in the past few weeks … anybody got any ideas what’s up?). I’ll try to repost comments that had accrued asap.]

  • Archie Watkins is leaving the Inspirations? So says this commenter. We’ve been down this road before and turned back, so it’s not over till the fat lady shrill tenor sings stops singing, but if it’s true … well, … laugh, cry, raise a glass, bow a head … oh my.
  • As you will have probably already noticed (unless you were distracted by the Rihanna/Chris Brown contretemps), The Gaither Vocal Band won a Grammy for Lovin’ Life, and Daniel Mount has the requisite Gaither Grammy primer. What’s striking about Daniel’s list is how, with the exception of “Homecoming,” the Grammy has consistently recognized … well, not his best music, by far (please note: this is not the same thing as “bad music”; I only mean that there are other better albums from most of the periods in question … compare, for instance, “Back Home in Indiana” to “Let’s Just Praise the Lord”). It’s almost like they try to make up for missing the signal album from most of his major creative phases (save the GVB of the 80s/early 90s, which sadly but not shockingly the RIAA failed to notice for its outstanding accomplishments separate from the Homecoming Friends) by honoring some later album from that phase.
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  1. wackythinker wrote:

    The post disappeared? It’s probably someone trying to assist in your moderating chore.

  2. Wade wrote:

    It’s the Greene, Gaither & Hopper Hex

  3. Ron F wrote:

    This is weird, Hey you dont think Matt Dibler did this do you????

  4. j-mo wrote:

    It was the gays.

  5. RF wrote:

    Just a few comments:

    **I’m sure Archie Watkins is a fine man with a unique voice who is moving on. I wish him well and I’ll relish the fact that I do not have to listen to him again except on occasion. It does, imho, spell the beginning of the end for the Inspirations. Archie is only 60 years old and Martin Cook is older. How much longer can they go on. We’ll see.

    **The latest GVB album won the Grammy because there was nothing out there better. No, it might have been the weakest GVB album in a long time, but compared to what we’ve been getting lately from the rest, it was miles ahead of them. The Grammys have always stood for quality (much like this site) rather than emotion. I think they got this one right. This time.

    **A new Oaks DVD? I’m still waiting for the footage of the groups who participated in that Nashville session at the same times the Hymns DVD’s were taped. Excuse me, but Bill made his money on the old tapes where all the groups took the stage and sang their hits. It seems by limiting who sings (you know, Ivan and Ernie, Russ and the Hoppers), you make more money. No Perrys or Gold City, just the same old people. I love the Homecoming DVD’s, but Bill go back to what was working (yeah, like the Reunion DVD and album was a bust!)

    **Rick Hendrick. The Bruton Smith of sg music. What are we going to see next? Jessica Simpson sings George Younce? Give me a break.

  6. WA wrote:

    Yeah, every person who knows Archie Watkins will attest that he is a fine man. He’s also in the SGM Hall of Fame. And, has been about the only tenor of the most-awarded group in sgm history. That he can retire at 60 proves that he and The I’s have evidently made enough money to check out quietly, and enjoy traveling in his motor home with his wife. Bon Voyage, Archie, and thanks for all of the memories.

  7. Ruth Meyers wrote:

    Archie was certainly the glue that held them together. Well…at least we’ll get a new “Traditional Quartet” winner at the Fan Awards, AND possibly a worthy composition for Song of the Year (although to quote Meryl Streep in her Oscar nominated performance, “I have doubts.”) Martin will probably re-group and continue on, God help us. I also hear the Lewis Family are calling it quits this year.

  8. gina wrote:

    Archie will certainly be missed, and he truly is THE sound of the Inspirations to me. Like him or not, he is unique and brings a humble quality to the group that is refreshing. Martin actually already has “regrouped” with a great new lead singer, and Dallas Rogers stepping into the tenor spot. Let’s also not forget the veterans still with them… Mike Holcomb and Melton Campbell. I think the group will still be around awhile!
    Ruth - Any additional info on the LF retirement?

  9. quartet-man wrote:

    Awards are nice and sometimes they get it right, but remember those who say the Inspirations are the most awarded, so was the Statlers and although I respect the people in both groups, there are others who deserve the awards more.

  10. gina wrote:

    After more than 26 years with the same basic lineup, it was announced today that the McKameys are experiencing a vocalist change next month. Carol McKamey Woodard is retiring, and Sheryl Farris (Ruben and Peg’s songwriting daughter) will return to the position of alto.

  11. Tim wrote:

    Archie Watkins helped define a sound that is a great part of Southern Gospel music. Martin and his integrity as well as longevity should be appreciated.

  12. Wade wrote:

    Ya know I do not enjoy the Inspo’s but ya have to give them their due… most of their dates are annual and they have their niche STRONGLY cut out… So for all the ppl that think I only dish the dirt…which I do not agree I do … I just call BS on ppl… here I am saying although I don’t enjoy them…they still have my respect!!!

  13. WA wrote:

    Sheesh, Wade - did you get saved yesterday?! That has to be the first actually positive comment I’ve ever seen you post that wasn’t about the Oaks!

    And, I applaud you for this: many people wouldn’t likely name the I’s as their #1 favorite group, and I’d be with you in that camp. But, their integrity and being true to who and what they are for 40 years has been rewarded. Best of all, I have no doubt but that even more importantly, the day will come when they’ll get their real reward.
    They found their voices, and stayed there, all along being men of integrity and mountain class.

    Wade, please give us more posts like that one, will you? It was good.

  14. Wade wrote:

    No WA… I have defended Bill Gaither many tmes… I posted on another thread a couple of time liking Taranda Greene. I have defended Russ and his Hot Wife Tory Taft many times.

    Also have told of what a CLASS person Janet Pascal!!! So you must be new or just don’t remember the good ones.

    I was saved June 6, 1972.

    There was one last thing I would like to say about the Inspo’s. As a Producer, Promoter & Performer I have to give them their due as it relates putting butts in the seats!!

  15. wanderer wrote:

    I have several Inspirations albums. I can’t say they are one of my favourites. However I do listen to them because of Mike Holcomb. He has a fantastic bass voice. I don’t dislike Archie’s voice or singing, but I always felt he was overfeatured. The have had some good leads down through the years. Always liked Troy Burns voice.

  16. WA wrote:

    Thanks, Wade. And I’m glad that you aren’t another of the Gaither-bashers on here. There seem to be way too many of them, and their reasons for such just escape me. He’s done so, so much for the music we love.

    Mike Holcomb is remarkable. He might be the deepest bass in sgm these days, and as dbm stated, it’s not just deep…JD was deep, but the quality? Eh. Holcomb is as good in concert as he is on CD, which again, doesn’t happen all the time.

    There seems to be agreement here; the I’s might not be the #1 favorites of many of the posters, but they are to be admired. So, as encouraged at the end of the first point of the essay, I’ll raise a glass to Archie in tribute; but in honor of him, it’ll be sweet tea.

  17. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    I’m like wanderer.

    Whenever I get a new Inspirations CD, I generally just copy the cuts that feature Holcomb to my MP3 player. I store the CD on the shelf. I’m amazed at how clearly he articulates his words at low pitches.

  18. art wrote:

    I sense on this thread that there is minimal enthusiasm for the Inspirations’ music — and I understand that completely. I enjoy their music for what it is and accept what the music is not. Still, I’m interested that the group has had pretty good success as a long-term venture.

    Would somebody please discuss how the Inspirations kept up their supply of good will among the fans? Also, does their business model offer any lessons that other SG groups should learn from?

    Not all SG groups can be as successful as the Gaithers. But apparently if all could be as successful as the Inspirations, they’d be doing OK.

  19. Aaron Swain wrote:

    14: Keeping the rotating door of personnel changes from revolving often may have a little to do with it.

  20. WA wrote:

    For my two cents, Aaron captured a big part of the reason - they’ve had very few personnel changes through the years. As well, they’ve always manifested integrity, and have been true to who they are, and their music. Some might pan them because they haven’t changed that much, but I think that’s one of the reasons they have such loyal fans - they’re comfortable, and consistent.

  21. quartet-man wrote:

    I think losing the posts was my use of the “s” word which is seen again in #9. ;-) We can talk about the Oaks or other groups all day, but my saying the “S” word just might have done it. ;-)

  22. art wrote:

    OK, let’s be a little more specific. How have the Inspirations succeeded in avoiding the revolving door syndrome while others have not? Do they pay better? Do they offer a more creative work environment? Are they nicer people? Is their work pace or work place more tolerable than others’? Are they more careful in hiring people? Do they look for people who they can get along with in the stressful SG life? Do they look for people whose kids are already out on their own and who, therefore, may not have as many financial demands? How would those or other factors compare as a priority to musical quality.

    And to amplify on #20, do the Inspirations owe some/most of their success to the fact that they recognize that their demographic tends toward people who just want to enjoy familiar songs? People who want to have a good time at Christian event? People who may be able to enjoy that good time without being too picky about quality details?

    I don’t know much about the Inspirations or about the SG business or about the music business in general. I’m just curious.

  23. whatchathink wrote:

    Ol’ Archie is finally hanging up the mic, eh? NOT! He’ll do the same as Jack Laws and appear every now and again. And he’s being replaced by none other than Dallas Rogers who’s been with more groups than anyone can count. Does Dallas even know how many groups he’s been with? Probably not. It should be interesting to see how long Martin Cook and Co. can keep Dallas occupied.

  24. gina wrote:

    I just read that Archie Watkins will embark on a solo ministry! Guess he’s not really “retiring” after all.?

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