Open thread

Welcome to the first week of August and the beginning of Avery’s Birthday Month. More thoughts on that closer to the actual blogday. In the meantime, some stuff that won’t generate a post of its own but might be worth mentioning.

  • Three items for the gospel-immigration department: Chuck Peters reports this a.m. that the Freedom Singers’ bus exploded on the side of the road. The singers themselves are uninjured. They’ve posted a youtube clip of the van being reduced to a charred pulp. Meanwhile, Sweet Honey and the Rock has released a song that addresses itself to the immigration debate sparked by Arizona’s recent SB-1070. The song is streaming at the group’s facebook page. At the complete other end of the spectrum, Ray Stevens has weighed in on the immigration issue as well (via DBM).
  • I generally think that the excessive adoration of Danny Funderburk is more a product of his having been part of the Cathedrals than any objective enthusiasm for his singing, so what I’m about to say isn’t some blind fealty to the Cult of Danny. But if you want to know why so few people can recall Ernie Haase covering Funderburk’s signature tunes with the Cathedrals, just check this out. I cringed through the entire thing. (BTW thanks to Grigsby for posting the video as part of another discussion thread)
  • Via DBM, Sonya Isaacs was on Jimmy Fallon’s show.
  • From the “Gotta dance with them what brung you” file: Daniel Mount says that Dolly Parton will be awarded the James D. Vaughan Impact Award at the Singing News Fan Awards when the show debuts at Dollywood next month.
  • Via Burke, there’s a new¬† Daystar show called Great American Gospel with Ed O’Neal.

Take it away …

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  1. Jason wrote:

    Wow, that Cathedrals clip is AWFUL!

  2. Eric wrote:

    That “I’ve Just Started Living” clip…that was…that was just terrible. Oh my! I wonder what George was telling Roger after the first verse? “Pick up the tempo. Let’s get this thing over with!”

  3. Deron wrote:

    A lot of people might prefer Ernie over Danny, but compare this clip to the clip in the post, and it’s pretty plain to see that Danny can sing Ernie’s pants off.

  4. Videoguy wrote:

    George to Roger: “Before I forget…if I call this song again, throw something at me.”

  5. Audrey Cole wrote:

    Ernie Haase is not a tenor singer.

  6. BUICK wrote:

    I hope The Freedom Singers know of a good body shop. That van’s gonna need a fresh coat of paint.

  7. Edie wrote:

    Wow, you people really can’t stand anyone successful, can you?

    Go on, Ernie…sing your heart out. Nobody likes it but the people!

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    This is in reply to Doug’s comment about many who are obsessed with Danny is because he was a Cathedral’s tenor. There might be some of that, but I think most people were introduced to him through them.

    I have shared this some, but maybe not quite so much. I was first exposed to the Cathedrals by their Goin’ In Style CD being played in our local Christian bookstore. I heard Daystar and was not impressed because I really liked the GVB’s and found the Cats version sleepy time. I heard other songs in passing, but nothing that stood out too much and probably mostly dismissed them.
    I had heard a copy of someone at a relative’s church singing Champion of Love and liked the song. I also saw the Cats singing This Ol’ House on Jubilate ‘88. There were sound issues with Glen’s mic and although I later came to appreciate all of the Cats (including songs on Goin’ In Style), what captured my ear and made me go buy the Symphony of Praise CD (which had This Ol’ House and Champion of Love) was Danny’s tenor singing. I had finally found a tenor who was full voiced and didn’t sound like a chipmunk on helium (and not in a good way like the high Bb over high C on the Kingsmen’s Love Lifted Me.) Here was a tenor who could hit the high C’s and higher and sound like a man doing it.

    To this day, when it comes to gospel tenors, I count Funderburk as one of my three favorite tenors (Phelps and Bill Baize being the other two.) Now, there are many others I like such as Jim Murray, Jerry Trammell etc., but even they can’t or couldn’t get to the C’s and higher with full voice.

  9. charliehorse wrote:

    I’ve read numerous posts about how many SGM artists struggle from week to week on a budget. The other night I witnessed a major SGM group(not one of Gaither’s 1st teamers)stop at a C-Store after performing at a concert up the road. I was there to buy the bargain 59 cent 32 oz fountain drink, they apparently were there to buy whatever they wanted, it didn’t seem to matter what the price was. Way overpriced Sliced cheese, saltines, cookies, chips, 20 oz bottled drinks at $1.79 a pop, small cans of meat items at major mark-up prices. All of this money being spent after that same group had spent time at Wal-Mart that day as well as having a huge free homecooked afternoon meal provided by the promotor of the concert and a ton of leftovers sent on the bus with the group. This is not the 1st time that I have seen this type of action. Apparently, there is another reason some of these groups struggle with money.

  10. Videoguy wrote:

    I agree, Audrey; EH is a high lead, a la James Blackwood.

    Just because I sleep in a barn doesn’t make me a cow.

  11. The Gospel Stache wrote:

    #9 Charliehorse. great judgment. and so true. so many individuals are in debt because of this sense of Americanized pride and greed that shells us from our needs and most importantly in how we give and what we give. the reality is, if you and I have running water, shelter over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, and some means of transportation (even if it’s public transportation), then we are in the top 15 percent of the world’s people for wealth. But rest assured, not all SG artists are like this. One of whom everyone here would know recently gave me a “very generous” gift for a church planting/orphanage missions trip to the D.R. How you give and what you spend your money on brings forth a more honest evaluation of the kind of people we really are and how we’re impacting the world with the Gospel. There are some who back it up.

  12. Andrew S. wrote:

    Does anyone know of a group that doesn’t use stacks these days? I would also like to know who uses them more than others.

  13. GC/EHSS/L5 fan wrote:

    Some of you all are very amusing. Most of you, in fact. I think it’s time for me to take another long hiatus…

  14. quartet-man wrote:

    #9 I understand your point, but here are a few thoughts. First, the members themselves likely buy the stuff, and not the group itself. The members might get salary from other jobs too or perhaps someone gave them money to get some treats. Perhaps some didn’t like the food that was served or the stocked up for a long road trip because they wouldn’t have time to stock up again or backtrack to WalMart and make the next gig. This might have been a rare treat for them. Even if they did backtrack to Walmart, bear in mind that running a bus is expensive and the cost in going back would’ve cost more. I am sure there are other things I fail to think of at the moment as well as some I have no time to get into right now.

  15. noninsider wrote:

    12. Well the Dixie Echoes definitely do not… :)

  16. lovelife wrote:

    On the video, I think Earnie thinks he’s Elvis.,.just sayin

  17. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Here’s another rendition of Ernie singing “I’ve Just Started Living.” This was recorded 12/2/90.

  18. Eric wrote:

    #8: I think you made a great point…Danny sang tenor like a man. Danny could do in full voice what most tenors have to in their “chipmunk on helium” voice.
    I posted that I thought that clip was bad…and it was. But not because I think EH is a bad singer. That song was not his style. Danny could never do a Kirk Talley song that way Kirk could…the same thing for EH…he could never do a Danny song. All different voices with different styles.

  19. cynical one wrote:

    #3 Deron — I don’t really want to see Danny sing Ernie’s pants off, Thankyouverymuch. ;-)

  20. cynical one wrote:

    Seriously, like someone else posted, Danny can sing the highest notes in full voice, and still sound like a man. Not very many others can do that. And Danny sings on pitch the overwhelming majority of the time. That cannot be honestly said about Ernie. I’ve been very surprised the producers haven’t used pitch correction more on Ernie’s recordings. He needs it.

  21. Jake wrote:

    One of the problems that a group — any group — has when a member leave and is replaced by someone new is, What do you do about the songs that featured the member who left? Particularly, if they are among the fan favorites, or if they are on the CDs that they are trying to sell from the product table. Sometimes the new member can make a song their own and the group can continue to do it, but oftentimes there is enough differences in voice, style, etc. between the old singer and the new singer that it just isn’t the same anymore. That’s what happened with “I’ve Just Started Living.” Ernie is a good singer, but his voice is much different that Danny’s.

    It makes sense that when a new member joins the group, they should find some songs that feature him or her, and cycle them into their repertoire, at the same time cycling out the songs that featured the person who left. I’m sure this is what the CATS did. Unfortunately, it can take several months because it is usually linked with their recording of their next project. Thus, what do you do in the meantime.

    The videos of Ernie singing “I’ve Just Started Living” would have been from right after he joined the CATS. Once their next project was done and new songs were available, they evidently stopped performing it. It’s a difficult situation for any group to be in, and it is an awkward situation for the singer to be in, knowing they can’t immitate the voice or characteristics that made the song famous.

  22. Samuel wrote:

    Right, it’s not exactly Ernie’s song. Kurt Young didn’t do it half bad (except for maybe a few botched high notes because he wasn’t uised to singing that much), but it was definately Danny’s song. Many have sung it in the past, but there was just something about Danny’s version that made it better. I guess what set Kurt and Danny apart from Ernie when they did this song was that they sung it like they meant it.

  23. Gayla Fooks wrote:

    As has already been stated, the Dixie Echoes do not use stacks. Also, The Melody Boys Quartet of Little Rock, AR do not use any stacks. I do not think there are very many more that do not use them at least to some extent.

  24. CVH wrote:

    OK, here’s a random question that some of you gray hairs may be able to answer (don’t take offense, I’m one of you).

    Imperials “Live”, double-album (I think it’s R3215) that came out in 1973. At the end of one of the sides there’s a version of “One Solitary Life” that sounds like it’s done with a track. If you listen closely you can hear a not-so-smooth crossfade of applause going into it, then the track kicks in (I think it’s a track because the playing and sound characteristics are totally different than the rest of the record), and they sing it and Armond does the narrative.

    I’ve always wondered where they came from since I can’t find it on any of their studio albums from that era. Just wondering if anyone knows the origin - was it a thing they just did in concert? Was it a track from an album that was never actually released? Just wondering if anyone can shed some light on it because it’s always stood out to me as a bit of an oddity. Thanks.

  25. Eric Stephens wrote:

    The Tennesseans do not use tracks or stacks and are blessed to have some of the best musicians in the business.

  26. Brett wrote:

    Wow too much time on your hands to worry about who sings better arrangement of a song. Seriously get a life!

  27. joe wrote:

    24. CVH: What a wonderfully obscure question! I had that album–in fact I think it was an 8-track tape–and played it over and over. After reading your question, I’m playing it again in my mind, bringing back many fond memories. I have no idea what the answer to your question is, though. :-)

  28. LS wrote:

    I just watched the clip of Ernie singing “I’ve Just Started Living.” If I’d never heard Danny sing it, I would have enjoyed it more, but it wasn’t really bad once you got past the white suit. I did, however, want to corral that stray lock of hair that somehow escaped the rest of the ‘do!

  29. Noninsider wrote:

    Watching the Bowling family benefit concert… Groups so far, Legacy Five (sang the most so far) They were solid as always not spectacular but solid, their new tenor Gus is probably the best singer they have right now… Karen Peck and New River finished off the first hour with a rousing rendition of “We Shall Wear A Robe And Crown”… The rest of the singers in the first half were Ivan Parker ( he was pitchy on his one song) Charlotte Ritchie, Tribute Quartet and the Booth Brothers they only sang one song “Look For Me” (Scott Fowler was filling in for Ronnie) The Bluegrass part is next… I guess the big dogs (GVB, EHSS, Jason Crabb) are being brought out last…

    To Be Continued…

  30. copperhill wrote:

    Oh the horror of SG performers stocking up on snacks for the long bus ride ahead at the local convenience store! Crackers, canned meats, cheese? Bottled drinks instead of watered down 59 cent fountain drinks? What poor stewardship!

    Seriously, this brings to mind Judas’ complaint that the money for the expensive ointment to annoint Jesus’ feet would have been better spent on the poor.

    I frankly do not consider these snacks to be in the least bit ostentatious (and they probably didn’t either) . It is none of our business if they roll in to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse after the show or whatever $$$$ eating establishment is open at that hour.

    With this kind of attitude among people who attend the concerts, I think I will start slipping an envelope of earmarked “snack money” to my favorites groups at the product table . . . since you’re determined to lay a guilt trip on them for consuming anything other than day old pastries purchased from Wal Mart and leftover doggie bags.

  31. BUICK wrote:

    I guess I’m an oddball but I liked Ernie’s version of “I Just Started Living”. I’m not saying I liked it better but I liked it, too. IMHO (and I really do mean HUMBLE opinion because I’m no expert) Ernie sounded better at the start of his career than he did a year or so into it and than he does now. I heard a warmth and a gentleness in that clip that is missing now. I thought he was singing within himself whereas later, it seemed as if he was straining out of his vocal range and our of his comfortable volume. But, again, I’m no authority. I just happen to like Ernie on that old clip better than what I’m hearing now.

  32. quartet-man wrote:

    Although Ernie has pitch issues and is a different type of singer. he too at least has power on the high notes and sounds less girly than many tenors. From the part of Dean’s link I have listened to so far (I am watching TV and the commercial was over before I got through it :) ), but it sounded a good bit better from what I can tell. Time will tell if it is, just the part I heard was, or I remember wrong. :D

  33. Noninsider wrote:

    The Bluegrass Half of the Bowling Benefit Concert was not bad… Highlights were The Issac’s and Ricky Scaggs, other performers were the Whites and Dailey And Vincent. Dailey and Vincent have a nice rendition of “Thanks To Calvary” featuring Christian Davis. Waiting on the second half to start now…

  34. Noninsider wrote:

    The Issac’s (Sonya) are absolutely nailing “Your Cries Have Awoken The Master” they sang it especially for the Bowlings… They should record this one sometime…

  35. Noninsider wrote:

    A Cappella encore of the chorus now… (Your Cries Have Awoken The Master) The Issac’s are KILLING!

  36. charliehorse wrote:

    quartetman, this group passed back by the same Wal-Mart on their way to the C-Store, no backtracking necessary.

    copperhill, this is an open thread on a opinion-based message board. It is a fans right to question some of the stories of woeful travel costs for the SGM groups while at the same time seeing the actions of some members who obviously could have had more cash in the pocket for the road ahead if they had bought the same supplies earlier in the day at much less cost. Many of the bigger groups are able to travel comfortable all the time because they watch the expense bottom line better than some of the other groups.

  37. quartet-man wrote:

    Thanks for keeping us posted, Noninsider.

  38. Noninsider wrote:

    Some highlights in the 9:00 hour were the Perry’s, The Perry’s And the Perry’s… WOW they killed it for sure IMHO… Habedank has really developed as a great lead singer… He really nailed “If You Knew Him” regardless of how you feel about the song itself the vocals on this song are stellar…Crabb Revival was also featured in this hour and they did an Okay job, they are good vocally but I personally am not a big fan of their style…

  39. John Crenshaw wrote:

    #24 CVH . . . speaking as one of the grey hairs (or NO hair in my case), I saw the Imperials quite a few times during this era, and I never saw them perform “One Solitary Life” in concert. It was never released on any of their studio albums, either.

    My guess is that it was just a filler track for this great 2 LP set recorded in the studio with the applause dubbed in to make it appear to be a live recording.

  40. Noninsider wrote:

    Jeff and Sheri had a nice set highlighted by “Over and Over” Ernie Haase and his boys up now they started with their new arrangement of “Step Into The Water” which is not bad at all… They also sang Ernie’s staple OWAS… He was a little pitchy but not as bad as some nights… The highlight of their set was their new take on “Boundless Love” this will be a big song for them when they start their Cat’s tribute tour… BTW Doug Anderson is the best singer in the group by far, and that is not slighting the rest of the guys… I really like their drummer too… I think his name is Zach Shumate… They had a very solid set…

  41. Noninsider wrote:

    The Gaither Vocal Band is up now… They just nailed their new version of “You Are My All In All” David Phelps Killed it… singing “Please Forgive Me” now… Michael’s voice is coming back for sure…

    To be continued…

  42. Noninsider wrote:

    Michael did great… Jason Crabb came up and kind of stole the show though… It seemed to be unplanned and was a little awkward at first but it ended well… They ended with “Let Freedom Ring” and I have to say that David and Wes and the rest of the guys torched it… Like they always do… The Gaither Vocal was the best group on stage all night IMHO…

  43. Noninsider wrote:

    Jason Crabb is closing out the night… Singing great, I love his band!

  44. Noninsider wrote:

    Jason TORCHING “Through The Fire” (No pun intended there) :) The crowd is loving Jason without a doubt… I can’t imagine how tired they are though… It is like NQC without the chance to go to the exhibit hall and stretch your legs… I am wore out just sitting in my lazy boy… :)

  45. Noninsider wrote:

    Concert is now over… after 4 and a half hours… I am now off to bed… :)

  46. Andrew S. wrote:

    #45- The time amount is not half bad considering that the concert was advertised to last from 6-9 PM. Did the Bowlings make any appearance via video or tangible during the event?

  47. jim wrote:

    Back to Mr. Funderburk. No offense, but his voice always sounded like the jagged edge of a tin can lid against bare skin. Perhaps that was the appeal to some.

  48. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    From No. 9: “Way overpriced Sliced cheese, saltines, cookies, chips, 20 oz bottled drinks at $1.79 a pop, small cans of meat items at major mark-up prices.”

    I agree that this list is outrageous. Southern gospel artists are fat enough as it is.

  49. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    By the same logic, you paid for a 59-cent fountain drink when you could have gone home and had tap water.

  50. Janet B wrote:

    Speaking of The Imperials…I heard (from a very reliable source) that Sherman Andrus has cancer & is not doing well. Does anyone have any more info on that? Hate to hear it…God bless him. In my prayers…

    And, Charliehorse: I’m sure you’re very proud of your own frugality, but…isn’t PRIDE one of the Seven Deadlies?
    I’m sure if we observed you for awhile from afar, we could find things to nitpick at.

    Now, if those guys had been stealing the food, or knocking over a little old lady to get to the last Ding Dong, then…

  51. cynical one wrote:

    charliehorse — or you could have gone to Kroger and bought a $4.00 box of 12 oz cans of soda (33 cents each). We all overspend, all the time. It’s part of our society.

  52. dd wrote:

    Isn’t it amazing in the disparity in which funds are being raised for the The Bowlings and George Amon Webster. Both have suffered horrible accidents and I am sure both are in need. I guess there are the have and have nots in SGM. This is just an observation, but Mr Toney could probably take some promotional pointers form Ms Hannah. Wishing the best for all to recover and resume their careers.

  53. noninsider wrote:

    46. No the time wasn’t to bad your right… :) And they did play video of the Bowlings singing of of their upcoming DVD… And they played a video of their interview with Les Butler of The Singing News… And their girls were there and they introduced “KPNR” that was a nice moment…

  54. quartet-man wrote:

    #51 I can’t believe you would suggest they buy name brand soda. Isn’t the generic stuff the way to go? And cans, such a waste! If you want an extravagance instead of water like DBM said, they can buy generic 2 liters.

  55. quartet-man wrote:

    #51 For that matter….KROGER? What is wrong with Dollar General, Aldi’s and the like? If not, maybe Sam’s Club or Costco, but it would be important to call each and comparison shop.

  56. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I actually liked the version of “I’ve Just Started Living” that Dean Adkins posted. Ernie sang it with conviction and power. Danny is my favorite Cathedrals tenor, but I’ve come to appreciate Roy Tremble, Mack Tauton, and Ernie. I’ve always thought that Danny was 1a and Kirk was 1b. They are both great tenors with different styles.

  57. LS wrote:

    If anyone would like to help George Amon Webster, the Toney Brothers have set up a Paypal donation link on their website, Whether you want to contribute or not, please pray for him.

  58. Wade wrote:

    Because SGM is SGM Danny is popular because he is a good guy and the last Cat Tenor to be for sure straight or straight acting!!!

  59. ng wrote:

    This website says Sherman Andrus recently underwent radiation treatment for cancer.

    It was reported earlier in the year that Sherill Nielsen, another former Imperial, was being treated for lung cancer. Has anyone heard anything current?

  60. burt wrote:

    Charliehorse, WOW!…..just….I mean…..WOW!

  61. Cat wrote:

    #12 The Inspirations do not use any stacks

  62. steven wrote:

    this may be off topic, but i was listening to some live oak ridge boys from the 70’s (with willie wynn) and they did their “Go out to the program” bit, and it got me wondering…is there any video footage of them doing this?

    I know that the kingsboys/chronicle did this back in the 80’s/90’s and i have that on video, just wondering about the oaks.

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