Rediscoveries: The Hinsons, in two parts

The Hinsons reunion at NQC was … meh … just ok. Unlike the Rambos, who didn’t try to imitate the old sound so much as piece together a series of tone-painted scenes from the group’s heyday, the people singing as part of the Hinson tribute seemed to try to sound like The Hinsons. And … well, not so much.

So for no particular reason other than that stumbled upon the other day flitting around youtube, here are two clips from the Hinsons, early and late, about which I have very little to say other than that the Kenny Hinson Deification Project tends to overshadow other Hinson figures, like Larry.

And as for this one: The countrified charisma just rolls off Kenny Hinson is waves of charm and self-possession … I mean, watch how he sells that second verse of Two Winning Hands. My gosh the smile. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to pass out snacks and cots for the lines of groupies out back of the bus. Two winning hands indeed.

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  1. Kyle wrote:

    My favorite Hinsons album has to be the circa 1980 “On The Road Live.” Their first live album, “From Out Of The West,” was so full of canned applause that it sounds WAY to dated, and “Lift The Roof Off,” while very energetic, lost the power of Chris Freeman, and was a bit too polished, comparitively speaking.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the Hinsons’ studio projects, as they were very much a “you gotta see them live” group….which is why I enjoy “On The Road” so much.

  2. Wade wrote:

    I know y’all expect me to go some place with the Two Winning Hands comment from Dr. DH about charisma and cots but I am NOT going to do it!!

    I always get a kick outta seeing especially like D. Allen of the Oaks and in this case Kenny, for some unknown reason with multiple pickers behind them, insist on playing a guitar. It was fun to see him give up and not be able to continue to play on the 3rd verse with all the vocal gyrations and play rhythm at the same time.

    This is MY FAV memory of the group, yeah I agree with Kyle you HAD TOO SEE THEM LIVE!!!

  3. 2miles wrote:

    The Hinsons were/are my favorite group, for a variety of reasons. One of them being the fact that you could “feel” what they were singing. It’s not evident in the first video in the filming studio as teenagers, but definitely there in the 2nd video.
    I wish more groups today used the Hinson philosophy of expressing their feelings in the music. A large part of that had to do with the live band and “letting the spirit lead” or “feeding of the crowd”, ever how you want to look at it. Today everything is so canned it’s nearly impossible to be spontaneus (whether it’s planned or not :-)). A few do an okay job but after watching videos of groups from the past with live bands (Kingsmen, McGruders, Hinsons, etc) you start to get the feeling that even the “good” stuff from today is a cheap imitation.

    Also, I think if you read up on Kenny you will find that he (especially at the beginning) fancied himself a guitar player who sang instead of a singer who played the guitar. I think he probably hung on to the guitar because it was how he was most comfortable and showed his genuine apprecation for the music as much as the words…

  4. Rev. Al wrote:

    Kenny Hinson had everything a singer needs to captivate an audience. He had an incredible voice, stage presence. He appealed to the “common folk.” He impressed the “learned” musical analyst. He had the looks. He had a “coolness” about him that even “hipsters” would appreciate (sort of like Dean Martin).

    His Pentecostal connection probably kept him from being accepted by a wider audience. He scared the Baptists - and everyone in southern gospel knows that you’ve got to have the Baptists support to succeed. He is head and shoulders above anyone in his genre

  5. Scott Vaughn wrote:

    I was watching these and noting that the harmonies are not particularly tight and that the pitch is occasionally just a little off but they sure have a way of putting over a song.

    I always thought of them as the logical progression of what the Goodmans were doing, a younger generation but essentially doing the same type of thing.

  6. steven wrote:

    You could definitely tell that kenny was probably the “leader” of the band, whether the guitar is strapped to him or not. Its a musician thing - I agree with 2miles its probably just his comfort thing. When the group started (which i wasn’t alive in that era) I’m sure it was mostly just kenny on guitar. And he really had some great guitar skills.

    Its kinda an elvis thing - he’d play guitar for half a song or two and put it back haha

    Love the hinsons, would have loved to see them live…thank God for youtube!
    Great singers, Great Band, Great Songs

    I say reunion tour (with weston)

  7. J wrote:

    Behind the bus, on the bus, under the bus and on top of the bus.

  8. NG wrote:

    The “Two Winning Hands” clip is from the old “Gospel Country” TV show on The Nashville Network on Sunday afternoons in the early 80s. I believe the shows were was recorded on an outdoor stage at Opryland at a gospel event held on the Memorial Day weekend each year. A second-tier country singer would do a gospel number and then introduce the SGM group for that show. Artists I recall appearing included Cathedrals, Masters V, Singing Americans (with Mike English and Rick Strickland), Nelons and Kingsmen.

  9. blake wrote:

    The Hinsons Paved the way for mixed groups, just as the Goodmans did in the 60 70’s. #3 Kenny focused on his talent and focused on being the best he always improved and didnt mind helping someone learn the ropes. The Blog first read of imitation, you can not imitate something that has been thought by the person you are so called trying to imitate. Kenny Hinson taught Bo Hinson alot and it shows in him. I am a die hard hinson fan and as for a good group at NQC for the reunion try replacing kris with Yvonne and se how much of and older imitation you get, You WON’T Its all hinson.

  10. Sensible wrote:

    Don’t forget the Hinson’s hired and introduced some of the most sought after studio musicians of today. Here is a few: Gary Primm, Dirk Johnson, and Kelly Back. In the “Two Winning Hands” video, Kelly Back is on lead guitar and Rodney LaShunn (sp ck) was on piano. Rodney was a great pianist; he died tragically in a car accident in the early 2000’s - I think. Also, Darrel LeCrowe (sp ck) was on the steel guitar. Darrel was an outstanding musician who could play steel and lead (and more). He also played for Gold City at one point. He got into computer software development. The story goes that Darrel was a truck driver that ran into the Hinsons at a truck stop. He talked with them about how much he liked their music and ended up auditioning. Next thing you know he is on stage with them.

  11. QwertyJuan wrote:

    I’d really like to hear Bo, Weston, Eric and Ronnie in a quartet.

  12. JOF wrote:


  13. Andrew S. wrote:

    #8 (NG)- From the title of the “Two Winning Hands” video, the appearance was captured in 1988, which doesn’t appear to be the early 1980s. This was from their “Live! in Nashville” video.

    My favorite part of the 1988 video is how smoothly Kenny transfers back into the second verse without ever stopping the song.

    One factor that astonishes me is how Kenny had a speech impediment earlier on in his career, but he never let it stop him. Because of his working on his voice, he helped at least one other now favorite vocalist, Mrs. Libbi Perry Stuffle, through her difficulties stemming from hearing loss. To have such a speech difficulty and be named among the best male vocalists ever is the provision of grace and sustenance in a situation where so many others would have retreated.

  14. Glenn R. wrote:

    Thanks for getting this conversation started. It prompted me to pull out vinyl, some 30 years old, and enjoy it more now than I did when I purchased it. The distinct sound just isn’t as common today in southern gospel music as it was then.

  15. NG wrote:

    #13 Andrew: The video came out in 1988 but is called “Encore–Live from Nashville” which means it could have been recorded earlier. I think it is from 1984. I believe (but can’t prove from info on the net) that “Gospel Country” was on the air in only 1983 and 84. Does anyone recall the TV show? The logo used on the Hinson video is definitely the one used on the show.

  16. Andrew S. wrote:

    #15- Hmmm.. Thanks for the update. After I had posted, I second guessed my response. But I will respond to the logo question. I don’t recall the tv logo for two reasons: don’t have a tv and didn’t live in the 80s. :)

    Did other groups compile their performances on the show? I’d love to see a collection of the Nelons or Cathedrals performances.

  17. NG wrote:

    #16 Andrew: I haven’t seen any other compilations from the shows. I have also not seen clips other than the Hinsons from the show on YouTube. I have various VHS tapes of the show with different groups including Nelons and Cathedrals which I have been meaning to sort and put on DVD. If I can get that project done, I will provide the DVD to someone I know who can put some clips on YouTube. No deadline at this point.

  18. Andrew S. wrote:

    I’m taking it that the Nelons performances were before Rodney Swain left in ‘85 as well as the Cathedrals performances before Danny Funderburk came in ‘84?

  19. NG wrote:

    Yes Andrew, Rodney was with the Nelons and Kirk Talley was with the Cathedrals at the time of the TV tapings.

  20. Sensible wrote:

    I happened to think that Scott Sanders the studio steel player also came out of the Hinson camp. I think Scott Sanders and Kelly Back was both playing at NQC along with Bruce Watkins for Gold City reunion (Tim, Brian, Ivan, Mike).

  21. bayougurl wrote:

    What an incredible find this site has been. Here I was…thinking I was all alone in the world. Being a incorrigible cynic but with an undeniable attraction to sg.

    I have personally chalked up my soft spot for sg to childhood memories. I was reared on Gospel Singing Jubilee (I had a semi-serious crush on Larry Hinson) by a pair of Pentecostals. My father was from the poor, country, cartwheeling variety and my mother represented team UPC. But in spite of having more Pentecostal ministers in one family than law should permit, I survived with a pretty clear head.

    But, to this day, whenever I hear Kenny Hinson’s voice all of my icy detachment starts to melt, and I’m ten years old again, sitting on the floor clapping, not a care in the world.

  22. mort wrote:

    you have got to be kidding - hey are great together

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