Name that musical move

So there’s that thing the Kingsmen were known for back in the day – you know, where they go from pianissimo to mezzo forte in the space of a measure or less, often using a drum kick and sometimes revoicing the harmonies and occasionally double-timing the rhythm to end big … Here’s an example, which starts around the 2:55 mark:

There are slight variations here (around the 3:05  mark) and here (2:45).

So what is (or, if it doesn’t have a name, should) it be called? Kingsmen in the Clutch? Cloud Formation (as in four chords and cloud of glory)? Big fat forte?

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  1. burt wrote:

    WOW! That sucked.

  2. j wrote:

    How about wonderful.

  3. j-mo wrote:

    The band plays in double time. I’m not sure you should name the move after The Kingsmen since it’s what basically every group to ever do this song has always done, even before the Kingsmen did it.

    The only groups I’ve ever seen not go double time in that section of the song are the really bad ones that that mis-interperet what they’ve heard someone else do and try to replicate it by simply picking up the tempo.

  4. Michael McIlwain wrote:

    It’s Doug’s attention to detail and his love for the essence of this great music that keeps me coming back to this blog. The K-men were the best at going from slow to fast and then from soft to loud.

  5. Jerry wrote:

    Four toots and a pile.

  6. Michael McIlwain wrote:

    I like “Big, Fat Musical Forte.” I’m going to have to use that term when I lead my next choir rehearsal.

  7. quartet-man wrote:

    I haven’t listened to it, but might later. The technical term for starting loud, getting soft and loud again is a sforzando, however, if I remember what they do on this song I think they call that “taking it home.” ;-)

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    #6 Mike, to be politically correct, you should probably say “metabolically impaired forte.” ;-)

  9. Kyle wrote:

    The Crowd Pleaser???

  10. wtfun wrote:

    if ANY 2 quartets got up there today and sounded like that ,EVERYONE on this board would bash them! Sometimes we remember the nostalgia and not really what they sounded like at the time.

  11. Scot Eaves wrote:

    How about the Kingsmen Kick?

  12. Wade wrote:

    PULEEEZE… NOBODY did it like the KINGSMEN!!!

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    9. I like that one, Kyle. :-)

  14. videomaker wrote:

    j-mo said (#3) that the Kingsmen only did what everyone else who ever sang this song did … long before the Kingsmen, he said.

    Just to clarify- the Kingsmen introduced this song to gospel music on “Big and Live” in 1973 (Canaan Records). It is there arrangement that everyone else has copied.

    As for that “bad” Kingsmen sound… that was part of their appeal in a way. They weren’t as smooth as the Cathedrals. They didn’t get funkily modern like the Speers tried to do. They just flat out sang old time, hardcore gospel. They had the best band in the business. And there was never a quartet that was able to sing with more GUSTO, more drive in my opinion. Not even the Statesmen.

    In all fairness, this clip is not the best era of the group. Garry Shepherd’s tenor didn’t compare with the Ernie Phillips era, which gave us “Chattanooga Live,” “Live…Naturally,” etc. Listen to the live albums of the late 70s and early 80s and you’ll see what working the crowd really was at its best; it is striking how lacking the groups out front today are in this regard. You just can’t judge the Kingsmen totally on this one clip…. And no offense to Garry. He is a great guy, but just wasn’t the singer Ernie Phillips (and Johnny Parrack) were.

  15. Jake wrote:

    I can only imagine the reaction on here if anybody tried to sing tenor like that nowadays.

  16. Bob wrote:

    Well, I had a lot to say, but all the comments here have been what I had to say.

    I will, however, add this: The appeal of the Kingsmen to this day is their ability to actually be better LIVE than any studio recording.

    Sure - they’d be laughed off the stage today (a band!!?!?!? - What the heck is that) with everyone using stracks and sounding as polished live as their studio projects.

    But I love ‘em. Right now in my MP3 player in my car is nothing but the Kingsmen. Everything they ever recorded; good, bad and ugly.

    They didn’t run around trying to be the smoothest and most polished - they just were what they were. You either liked Jim or you hated him.

    Funny - I hated to hear Foxy sing when I was a kid - now those are some of my favorites. I sing most of those songs myself.

    I think time has proven the Kingsmen’s universal appeal, and I don’t know about you, but everytime I turn them on, I long for those days of SG.

    I long to hear a group of guys get up and do all the vocal tricks and swap guys in and out of the group and band and just have fun! Today all these groups do is work on the stage. From the theatrics of EH&SSQ to the every second of hand gestures matter GVB to the now boring and dead GV, L5, MHT, etc….no one has fun anymore. It is about perfection and polish not performance and praise.

    Anyway - I miss the old Kingsmen. A LOT!

  17. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I agree with you. I like the other groups you mentioned, but I miss the days of the Kingsmen under Big Jim’s leadership. The sound may not have been polished, but the group had to have a lot of talent to do what they did. Big Jim had great arranging ideas and Anthony Burger was one of the best pianists ever. These guys had to have a lot of talent to what they did on the fly as often as they did.

  18. rngfreckles wrote:

    quartet-man: yes, that is the proper musical term. When I went to a choir conference this year, no one could remember how to properly say it. So it was dubbed, “Schwartzkopff.” It was the running gag all weekend.

    Boy, do I miss KingsGold!

  19. David Grant wrote:

    The concert that sparked my interext in SG music was at an ice hockey rink (summer…no ice) in Lexington, KY. That concert was by The Kinsmen, Gold City, Heaven Bound, and The Kingsboys. I was probably about 12 years old. ALL THE MUSIC WAS LIVE. I was hooked by the presentation of all four groups, but particularly The Kingsmen. Hamil was the best at what he did just like George Younce was the best at what he did. Both MC’s, but totally differenty styles. Parker Jonathan did a good job of carrying on a Hamil-type MC style. But, there was nothing like, nor has there been anything like, that live Kingsmen concert with full band! I was fortunate enough to share the stage with them several times during my time with The Journeymen Quartet. Got to swap off with Ray Dean on “How Great Thou Art” for the big finale. Ahh, great memories of FUN TIMES. I need those old live recordings on CD for my MP3 player!!

  20. Dean Adkins wrote:

    #14 states, “Just to clarify- the Kingsmen introduced this song to gospel music on “Big and Live” in 1973 (Canaan Records). It is there arrangement that everyone else has copied.”

    Actually the Calvarymen Quartet, Charleston WV recorded it with that arrangement in 1971. Of course the author Conrad Cook was the pianist and young lead singer, Squire Parsons, was a member also.

  21. Wade wrote:

    Those live recordings where SOOOO good they could not sell a studio project.

    Somebody let me know when SOME ONE does something close… Until then I am with Bob & Video maker

  22. Michael McIlwain wrote:

    Maybe we should call this musical move a “Big Phat Forte.” At least we don’t use the word “fat” and offend us obese folks.

  23. Irishlad wrote:

    Ithink i mentioned before the only Kingsmen albums i own are the live ones. I remember seeing them late 90’s at the NQC working the crowd into a frenzy like no other.I didn’t realise then i was witnessing a great group performing a swansong.

  24. Auke wrote:

    I’m with Bob and others…it’s all about neatness,glamour,polished, and scripted profoundness so it seems these days.
    I loved The Kingsmen..they were so politicly incorrect…loved when Jim Hamill said on a live album something about ‘Earthday’…like Jim said..’this earthday buisiness’. Ha lol! They were great even at being bad they were better than most. Bob is the man!


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