Just Sing: The Englishes cover “Who Am I”

Speaking of the Singing Americans, here’s a vintage clip of a very young Michael English singing with his brother, Biney, who’s trying to hold down Ed Hill’s part (h/t, KC).

Poor Biney … perhaps he gives off more of the dead-eyed mouth-breathing look and sound of Lester Moran than anyone not doing a parody of themselves probably should, so the result on the whole is not always great. But the pitch-shaving flaccidity of Biney’s lead work is worth enduring just to see how intuitive and impeccable Michael English’s sense of timing has been as a singer since … pretty much the beginning of his professional career.

It’s not uncommon for one singer to help out another who’s struggling with solo lines. But whereas most performers try a diversionary pep talk and over-enthusiastic atta-boys to try to rescue a solo that’s tanking on stage, English here just stares at the floor and (as if absentmindedly) threads in these golden strands of harmonic filigree (it even gets a knowing grin from Strickland, how English handles it all). No, it doesn’t exactly turn Biney’s straw to gold, but it has the effect of weaving into the gathering dullness these sparkling threads of promise … just hang on, English’s humming seems to say … the second verse is coming (and gawsh it’s transporting, idn’t it, that little duet?). Oh, and the piano and bass are also a brief clinic in understated instrumental brilliance.

So there’s all that to recommend here, plus a very young Rick Strickland … and - BONUS - the chance to giggle at the various follicular disasters of bangs and ’staches still hung over from the 70s.

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  1. irishlad wrote:

    Gospel Country eh? No wonder Quartet music ended up getting called Southern Gospel,?it was struggling to find a home in the 70’s & 80’s.When JD described it as the unwelcome cousin at the wedding he wasn’t far wrong.

  2. NG wrote:

    The show was on the Nashville Network (TNN) in the early 80s. Probably was called “Gospel Country” to attract country fans who would be watching TNN. The main acts (Kingsmen, Cathedrals, Nelons, etc.) were southern gospel but the MCs were country (Connie Smith, Johnny Wright and Kitty Wells. etc.) I taped a number of them.

    Good show to see the SGM acts in front of a live audience. TNN would tape a 40-minute set or so and then edit to make two TV shows.

  3. Bones wrote:

    That is horrible.

  4. Gospel Has Benn wrote:

    Why after all these years pick on Biney English?

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