Stamps Baxter Encore

After dinner tonight I couldn’t resist taking another listen to those Stamps Baxter clips from earlier today and ended up clicking my through a series of other clips from the same recording. Here’re two of the highlights by way of an encore.

First, “Every Day is  a Song,” which is both a lovely, understated number, and also written by Eugene McCammon, a leading figure in singing convention  circles who, among many other things, teaches theory at Stamps Baxter. I was fortunate enough to run into him at NQC and chat for a bit. Thanks again for your time, Eugene.

And finally, the crowd-pleasing “God Will Provide.” They’re taking the song several mms too quick for the lyrics to be fully comprehensible (stick with it; things get better after the first verse), but that hardly matters. It’s such an infectious tune.

Hard to imagine any good reasons why more mainstream southern gospel acts aren’t using more of this music. At any rate, its quality and memorability far exceeds much of what’s coming from the pens of allegedly top-tier sg writers.

Or maybe it’s just that everyone and everything sounds better backed up by such gobsmackingly good piano playing. Set me free.

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  1. Kevin wrote:

    I have to say it again…Tracey is amazing on the piano. :) These videos are making me want to go back in 2010!

  2. Deron Johnson wrote:

    As a two year attendee of the school, including the year that this video was taken, I have to agree: Tracey is among the best of the best pianists in Southern Gospel. She is incredible. She belongs to the class of pianists that aren’t showy players, but every time they sit down to a piano, they produce music that includes amazing theory and enough licks to keep you listening, but not too much, like Tim Parton and Stan Whitmire.

    Everytime I hear those kinds of players, it makes me appreciate their less-is-more philosophy. I wish more SG players would follow their example and just be concerned with making beautiful music, not trying to see who can flip their wrists the most or who can pound the keys the hardest. Would to God that more pianists would follow their example.

  3. MityCats wrote:

    Those are sooooo much fun to watch. Where can I buy the video?

  4. Al wrote:

    This is a most refreshing change of pace. I grew up on Stamps Baxter, Vaughn, Hartford. I’ll always love these type of songs, and that style of piano. Thank you for putting something good like this on here.

  5. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    I agree that “what’s coming from the pens of allegedly top-tier sg writers” isn’t all that exciting, but that is hardly a justification for “more mainstream southern gospel acts” to re-package songs like these.

    It’s “more of this music,” i.e., the same, tired, old, rehashed versions of songs, that are keeping people away from southern gospel these days in the first place.

  6. Shawn wrote:

    Check out They make a video of the closing program each year.

  7. Part-timer wrote:

    I was fortunate enough to be a SB in ‘97 and ‘98. If memory serves, “God Will Provide” was published for the first time in the ‘97 book and was written by Harold Lane. It was an instant hit at the school. I’m glad to see they still use it.

    It was my even greater fortune the next year (’98) to have Eugene McCammon as my theory teacher. There is no sweeter, smarter or funnier man in gospel music. Love, love, love him!

    As for Tracey — well, let’s just say that it’s worth the price of the school just to sit in the choir every night and sing along with her. She is magical.

  8. Shawn wrote:

    Actually, it was in the 1998 songbook and was written by Gary D. Tucker. Harold Lane edited the book for Ben Speer. My first year was in 1998 and I was in Eugene McCammon’s class as well. Brilliant mind and unmatched wit. I have many, many quotes from him scribbled in the margins of my notes.

  9. Extra Ink wrote:

    These clips are from a recent Stamps-Baxter, but not this year’s sessions. Tom Powell, Dad Speer’s grandson, is now back directing the music at the school after a hiatus of 2 or 3 years. The man directing the first clip in this section, by the way, is Gary Martin, from Scottsville, Ky.

    There are several similar shaped-note singing schools across the south, including the Alabama School of Gospel Music, The North Georgia School, and the Southern Gospel Music School of America in Chattanooga, which has been going for a couple of years and is growing quickly. All are fantastic and similar to Stamps. Many of the same teachers travel from school to school during the summer months to teach.

    Some really sensational songs are being written in this genre of music. It’s a shame that they aren’t making it onto more SG recordings. Some of these songs are much more inventive and engaging than most people in the SG industry realize.

    Some of the top songwriters of today’s convention music are Charles Towler, Marty & Ann Phillips, Eugene McCammon, and K. Wayne Guffey, among others.

  10. Oldtimer wrote:

    As a pastor if I had an unlimited budget I would call Tracey Phillips TODAY and ask her what salary she would require to become staff musician at our church. Nobody - NOBODY- sets such a variety of moods by mastering such a variety of styles. She is unequalled - and these clips remind us of that.

  11. rick wrote: acapella sing of one of Charles Towler’s songs

  12. Gary D. Tucker wrote:

    I Googled my name and here’s what I find… So thankful folks enjoy my song. Maybe someday a big name artist will record it and I’ll make enough in royalties for my congregation to construct a church building of our own… Like the song says, God WIll Provide!

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