Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thanks to all Avery’s loyal readers, commenters, and lurkers for another year of southern gospel for the rest of us. See you on the other side of the coming new year.

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  1. Janet B wrote:

    Merry Christmas to you & yours, Doug! :)

  2. Jason wrote:

    Anybody know what’s up with the Memphis Quartet show announcing new owners and directors?

  3. Wade wrote:

    LURKERS — Ha Ha I get a few of them communicating with me on facebook because they do not want to post HERE but want to ask questions!!

    I’ll tell you it is an impressive group of Doctors, Lawyers, Artist and even other bloggers. Plus of course a few diesel sniffers!!

    I ask them all the time why they do not post and the most popular response is they would feel UNCLEAN!!! But they can’t stay away!!!… and some how they feel CLEANER communicating with ME!!! lolol ;-)

    Be interesting to know how may LURKERS there are all total!!!

  4. Mike wrote:

    Whether it is or not, I’m taking the liberty to treat this as an open thread, but maybe you historians or those a minute or two older than I can educate me one a couple of Cathedrals-related questions. I have been rereading George and Glen’s book over the past couple of days, and a couple of questions have come to mind. They talked about how that when Kirk Talley joined Roger and Debra to form the Talleys that he did so while continuing to sing with the Cathedrals for approximately two years (the Talleys and Cats would do the same dates, and Kirk would sing with both). No offense intended to Kirk Talley, but his voice has obviously seen its better days (as have most tenor singers as they age). That had to be some level of overuse of his voice during that period of time. Has there ever been any discussion that Talley may have done some irreparable wear and tear on his voice during those two years? My other question has to do with Praise Gathering, which the Cats credit with sort of launching them into a much broader base of people/churches who had not really been exposed to much if any Southern Gospel music. I have always heard of Praise Gathering and have seen some clips over the years. How long did it last and why did it cease to exist?

  5. quartet-man wrote:

    #2 Yes
    #4 I seem to remember that quote and the way it was worded made it sort of sound like that at first glimpse. What I think they meant though was that the Talleys toured with the Cathedrals during that time, so in essence they “kept” him by having him around even though he wasn’t in the group anymore and they got Danny to replace him. I can’t say that Kirk might not have done some double duty to help out until they found Danny, but I don’t think it would have been too long as I think they also probably didn’t do all their dates together.

  6. CVH wrote:

    Mike, I can’t speak to your first question but I may be able to help with the second. The Praise Gathering was a concept to create a multi-day event in one location (I think it was usually Indianapolis) that would bring together some of the top artists of the day, not just for a lot of solo acts strung together but with a common theme - praise.

    Bill and Gloria put it together along with their long-time producer and business partner Bob MacKenzie. Ronn Huff may have owned a piece of it too. This was around 1971-72 and the concept flowed from the highly successful record they put out that year, “Alleluia, A Praise Gathering For Believers”. It was a concept record, not a church musical per se, but a collection of songs and narratives with the Gaithers, the Speers, Doug Oldham and others. I think all the artists were signed to Benson at the time.

    In fact, interesting bit of trivia, the Speers did the Gaither tune, “God Gave The Song” which was one of Bill’s earlier music/narration pieces like “The Church Triumphant (Is Alive and Well”, “It Is Finished”, etc. Very powerful pieces, 5-6 minutes long and a new writing/production concept at the time. A couple years later when the Speers put “God Gave The Song” on one of their own records they used the same Huff/MacKenzie track from the “Alleluia” record and just cut new vocals for it.

    Again my memory’s a little fuzzy but I think the Cats were the only ’southern gospel quartet’ to play Praise Gathering. Most of the artists were the mainstream inspo acts of the day. It was a good concept that lasted for a time but as trends evolved and economics changed it was a challenge to plan and execute well. Then, several years later, the Homecoming idea was birthed - a kind of Praise Gathering on wheels.

    Bill and Gloria, along with the business partners they’ve associated with through the years, have not only been major creative forces in the industry but innovators and successful entrepreneurs as well. Although at the time I’m sure they had no idea if it would work, Praise Gathering laid the groundwork for the future of gospel music.

  7. NG wrote:

    #4: All the histories I can find say that the Talleys were formed in 1984 after Kirk left the Cathedrals.

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    #4 I never got into the Praise Gathering thing and it looks like now it has mostly been covered. I think it was always in Indianapolis. Not only did it get Inspo acts, but they also had speakers, authors (I think), sometimes I think secular stars or maybe politicians who spoke as well (I am not totally sure except as I understand it, it was more than just musicians / artists.

    It hasn’t been that many years since it was gone. I would say no more than 3- 5. I can’t recall the exact reason giving for it being discontinued, but it seems like at the time it might have even just been said that it might be for one year as a break (but I can’t guarantee this). I believe the reasons were something like it had run its course or I think more accurately that Gloria and Bill were taking a break, refocusing on other things or somesuch. I will try to find out.

    I only answered your first question literally as in yes I know. I don’t want to get into the specifics, but basically it became necessary to change some of the people involved in order for it to be carried on and perhaps be better received. I know that is vague, but I don’t feel I should say more than that at this point.

  9. Mike wrote:

    My apologies. The context of the book made it seem that he was double-dipping. I found that to be a tough task. Was Talley’s voice ever “strong?” I know that it fit certain songs well, but was it ever a strong tenor voice. It was a unique sound, and he could have a pleasing tone at times, but I have a hard time hearing a strong voice in simply listening to the tone/inflections/etc.

    By the way, the paperback version of the book I have, I’m not sure if it’s a reprint or what, but there are a ton of misspelled names/words in it. Are all of the versions that same way?

  10. Bones wrote:

    Praise Gathering for Believers was short lived wasn’t it?

  11. VideoGuy wrote:

    Not sure if Danny was hired immediately upon Kirk’s departure, but I attended these Talleys/Cats concerts on two occasions. The Talleys - with Kirk - would sing first, then the Cats - with Danny - would sing. Then all would come out on stage for a finale that would last nearly an hour.

  12. Bryce wrote:

    Here is the roster for the 1997 PraiseGathering, courtesy Worldcat.

    The Martins; Alvin Slaughter; Wintley Phipps; Kathy Troccoli; the Katinas; Ken Davis; Avalon; Jeffrey Wells; David Payne; Ray Boltz; Jenni Till; Buddy Greene; Annie Herring; Bob Cain; Janet Paschal; Geraldine & Ricky; Phillips, Craig & Dean; Mark Mitchum; Jessy Dixon; the Galileans; Ponder, Sykes & Wright; Christ Church Choir, the Cathedrals, Jake Hess, Anthony Burger, Ken Medema, Danny Gaither, the Barrett Sisters, the Gaither Vocal Band.

    I have a 1994 highlights VHS which included several of these individuals, as well as Tony Campolo, 4Him, and Angelo & Veronica. There was also a mass choir, lead by Randy Vader. The tape opens with a voiceover dramatization between Bill and Gloria, no doubt scripted by her, which seems to indicate that PraiseGathering was her idea, that Bob Benson approved, and that Bill was the one who needed convincing to try it “for just one year.”

  13. nber wrote:

    #9 Mike I got that book when it first came out years ago. There are spelling errors and factual errors in there. For instance in one place it says Lorne, Mack and George Amon left to form their own group (The Brothers). It wasn’t. It was Lorne, Roy and George Amon. There was also a picture of George and Glen that says circa 1951 under it. That’s impossible since the Cathedrals weren’t formed until 1964 (as a quartet at least).

  14. Roger wrote:

    I attended the first three Praise Gatherings. The first two were in Indianapolis, with the third in Cincinnati. The third one was when we saw Gary for the first time, having replaced Danny. The news caused quite a stir. I remember seeing the Imperials at one of the ‘Gatherings. I remember that they were aimed at the church music crowd. They released a lot of sheet music and books, with many sessions about choirs. They were all great times!

  15. McCray wrote:

    How about a Battle of Songs ? On this side of the stage we have The Dove Brothers Band and on this side of the stage we have ?……… You fill that side of the stage ! No tracks no stacks !!!! We flip a coin to see who sings first ! Ring the Bell !!!!!!!!!!!

  16. irishlad wrote:

    Happy and peaceful New Year everyone.

  17. Brett wrote:

    No mention of Stuart Varnado being arrested?

  18. ode wrote:

    Ask and it will be given to you, son. In the year 2012 of our Lord get off the horse and buggy and read blogs thru RSS feed -
    24 out of the last 42 posted AVFL comments mention Memphis Quartet Show Owner Stewart Varnado’s arrest for possession of child porn/ mediate on the incident/marvel how quickly MQS disposed him like a dirty rag.

    I see the post from David Bruce Murray dated 21st,which makes him the first sg blogger (out of 4 I get feeds from ) breaking the story.

  19. GML wrote:

    *Brett* it’s been mentioned but everyone keeps taking post down and not talking about it. Different blogs have posted that the day he was let out of jail, calls were placed asking people to not talk about it. Kinda strange!

  20. commenter wrote:

    That is sad about Stewart Varnado…Im surprised there isn’t a post concerning this yet.

  21. commenter wrote:

    Dan Keeton is leaving Gold City

  22. NG wrote:

    Dan Keeton in an open letter explained why he is leaving Gold City, a group he loves.

    He wrote: “Most of you know my testimony of child abuse, the divorce of my parents and my daddy’s alcoholism. I have recently been given an opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for quite some time. I have wanted to start a non profit organization using music and the arts to inspire child victims of abuse. That opportunity has presented itself and I am so excited, but also heavy hearted.”

  23. Sensible wrote:

    For more posts on Stewart, see the “Semple” blog and the “Another Life” blog on this site.

    Also, I noticed that Harold Reed was not only home for Christmas but for New Years Eve. He is not singing with anyone right now is my understanding.

  24. irishlad wrote:

    Denial denial denial..the battle cry of the diesel sniffers…then when the proverbial hits the fan,there’ll be deathly silence.

  25. Wade wrote:

    They can say what ever they want why some one is leaving but it was said by many people he did not have the range to be a Gold City Tenor… not many people do. That is not a slam. You either have the range that people expect or you don’t!!! Dan is a good singer for MOST GROUPS.

    Let’s face this too… it is tough out there for Gold City… can you imagine what they have to live up to EVERY NIGHT when they walk on stage???

    It is a heckuva legacy to live up to!!

    Still love them though!!! Hope some day they can recapture the MAGIC they have had at least 3 different times with 3 different line ups!!!

  26. Fundie wrote:

    Wade I agree that Gold City has been MAGIC multiple times.

    I thought Dan was pretty good, myself. I also thought the press this time was totally different than the secretive non-statements of the last 3 tenors. I want to believe it this time. More info would be nice, obviously.

  27. Sg lover wrote:

    Wade. I heard Dan when he first came with Gold City. I heard him nail Jay notes in the end of a song. Next time he stayed down and just sang the note. I asked why he didn’t sky that time? He said he was told not to, that Gold City was known for just nailing the note together. Which when Bryan and Ivan were there I guess that’s true. But he said he does what the boss says. Shame.

  28. Chase Payne wrote:

    If they want someone with an extremely high range they ought to call Jonathan Price. That boy can get it done!!

  29. Brett wrote:

    I don’t make a habit of reading the same articles on avery or comments but on the lastest post made by avery. that’s why i didn’t see the other posts.

  30. Wade wrote:

    Fundie… there is not as much BAGGAGE on this change… poor GCQ had a rough couple of years.

    Sg Lover… with all due respect (and I do not say that much) NEVER on his BEST NIGHT did Dan EVER sky like Jay did and still can!!! They might have lowered the key the song was done in and it seemed that way, but believe me that is an insult to Jay!!!

    Hey Chase… ya must have missed it. Jonathan is singing again with the Dove Brother Band!!!

  31. Doug Sword wrote:

    I just did a search on the owners of the Memphis Quarter Show. The information came from the Florida Department of State. They are:

    Mack S. Vanado
    Randy D. Shelnut
    James Blackwood
    Duane Lee Garren
    Greg Inman
    Danny Ray Jones

    In the absense of further information, I assume that the remaining five officers will constitute the ownership and board of directors.

  32. NG wrote:

    Can someone be specific on the the Memphis Quartet show owners which #31 provided? Is Randy D Shelnut Randy Sr. or Randy Jr (Scoot)? Is Dannny Ray Jones the Singing News editor or another Dannny Jones? Is James Blackwood Jimmy Blackwood? Does anyone know anything about Inman and Garren?

  33. Doug Sword wrote:

    I know that James Blackwood is in fact Jmmy Blackwood. As far as the others, I took the names directly from the FL Secretary of State and have no further knowledge of exactly who they are. I assume that Danny Ray Jones is the Singing News Jones. Duane Lee Garren is a familiar SG name, but I don’t know what he is currently doing.

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