Mansion Releases Sing Out America DVDs

In the early 80s, Bill Traylor had a TV show called “Sing Out America!” (thanks Kyle!).  Last night after running some errands down around the mall, I told my wife I’d like to head over to Lifeway and just look around a while.  I must say that while their selection of SG CDs was decent, but fairly picked over, they did have a pretty nice selection of SG DVDs.  There were a couple of Crabb Family DVDs, Brian Free & Assurance’s latest DVD (with the songs from Real Faith), and several other non-Gaither DVDs.  As I was looking through, I came across several DVDs that were labeled “Sing Out America” from Mansion Entertainment.  Volume 5 was labeled “Gold City Quartet.”

I bought the DVD for $12.98 and took it home.  There were 10 songs on it, 8 of which were from the short lived Brian Free/Bill Crittendon/Jerry Ritchie/Tim Riley lineup.  The other two were the classic Free/Parker/Lefevre/Riley lineup.  It’s interesting to note that while a full band accompanies both eras, the earlier performances are obviously done live, while the Parker/Lefevre songs (“Cool Drink Of Water” and “After I Bow”!!) are pretty obviously lip-synched to the Double Take recording.  Still, it’s a great video to watch, as it documents the early days of Gold City, as well as being a very rare lineup.

I checked Mansion’s website this morning, and there are 10 volumes.

  • Volume 1: A Classic Collection
  • Volume 2:  The Blackwood Brothers with Guests, The Speer Family, The Dixie Echoes
  • Volume 3: The Speer Family
  • Volume 4: Florida Boys
  • Volume 5: Gold City Quartet
  • Volume 6: Rusty Goodman Family
  • Volume 7: The Hoppers
  • Volume 8: The Hinsons
  • Volume 9: The McKameys
  • Volume 10: Wendy Bagwell and The Sunliters

The video and audio are of pretty good quality, and definitely better than the Gospel Singing Jubilee DVDs I found a while back at Dollar General.  They’re not quite Gaither quality, but they’re definitely worth watching.  Though they aren’t credited as such, The Cathedrals do appear on both Volumes 1 and 2 of the collection.  One minor glitch, at least on the Gold City DVD, is that the song listing on the back of the DVD case is incorrect, and not a complete list.  “After I Bow” was not listed at all, but was instead a VERY pleasant surprise, as it’s one of my all time favorite Gold City songs.

Be watching out for these.  I know Lifeway has them, and you can get them Direct from Mansion’s website.

Derrell Stewart Hospitalized

According to the Singing News, former Florida Boys pianist Derrell Stewart was transported to the hospital in Florida West Florida Hospital (how’s that, Daniel? <g>) via ambulance.  Stewart has had several blackout episodes and is currently undergoing testing in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.  Stewart is another in an increasingly smaller list of SG legends that are left.  Please pray for Derrell and his family.

Another Dollar General Find

We stopped in Dollar General the other night to pick up some supplies and some cheap birthday cards (DG is a WONDERFUL place for greeting cards!) and while we were browsing around, I was looking through the CDs and DVDs.  Since I found the Johnny Cook CD a while back, I peruse the stacks everytime I’m in there.  Lo and behold, I found something else that was quite interesting.  Dollar General is selling a 6 volume DVD set of the Gospel Singing Jubilee.  These are not the Gaither issued DVDs, but are entirely different.  Here are the six volumes, I only found volumes 1 and 6 at my local store.

  • Volume 1 – The Florida Boys
  • Volume 2 – The Happy Goodmans
  • Volume 3 – The Cathedrals
  • Volume 4 – The Inspirations
  • Volume 5 – The Hinsons
  • Volume 6 – The Speer Family

I will have to say I was disappointed in the Florida Boys DVD.  After about the second or third song, the audio began lagging about a second behind the video, which made for some aggravating viewing.  However, this was not a problem on the Speer Family volume, and it was very enjoyable.  Hopefully my copy of the FB is just messed up.  Oh, the DVDs are very reasonably priced as well….2 for $10.  Gotta love DG prices!

Has anyone else seen these and/or picked them up?

Also, one of the Florida Boys cuts has a tenor I don’t recognize.  The song appears to be from the early 80’s, and the tenor is short, a little on the stocky side, and has dark, almost black hair.  It isn’t Jerry Trammell, it isn’t Terry Davis, and it doesn’t look much like Greg Shockley.  Anyone know who this tenor is?

Hidden Gems: Florida Boys – “I Wanta Know”

As a tribute to the late Billy Todd, here’s a nice cut of this old spiritual that features Todd.  This particular song comes off of the Up Tempo album that featured Tommy Atwood, Les Beasley, Glen Allred, Todd, and Derrell Stewart.  The Florida Boys do this song a bit slower than most, but the slower tempo really showcases Todd’s incredible vocals.  This song allows Todd to show off his upper and lower registers, and he handles his solo lines effortlessly and flawlessly.  Billy Todd had great cut on his lower notes, but could also jump up to the higher notes with just as much ease.  If you have this album, pull it out and spin up this track, and enjoy the great bass singing of one of our most underrated singers ever.

Billy Todd Passes Away

News broke yesterday that Billy Todd, longtime bass singer for the Florida Boys and most recently, the Dixie Echoes, passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s.  Billy Todd was one of the most underrated bass singers that SG has ever had.  Todd sang with class and dignity, and had a tremendous bass voice that was deep, full, and rich.  We have truly lost another legend from our midst, but as always our loss is Heaven’s gain.  Condolences go to his family, it’s especially hard to lose someone during this time of year.  Funeral arrangements are posted on the  Sinigng News site.

A Truly Bizarre Song

Take a gander at these lyrics, they are definitely cryptic and a bit bizarre:

Oh my loving brother, when the world’s on fire/Don’t you want God’s bosom for to be your pillow/Hide me over in the rock of ages/Rock of ages cleft for me”

This is the chorus to a song called “The Fire Song” recorded by the Florida Boys on the album Up Tempo, which is one of the LPs I picked up in Branson.  Don’t get me wrong, the song is performed expertly, and it is really catchy.  I just can’t get over the lyrics on the chorus.  And to be honest, the FB’s sound just a bit too happy while singing the lyrics “when the world’s on fire.”  Just thought these were some of the more bizarre lyrics I’d ever heard.

Some Nice Finds

I spent this past weekend in Branson, MO with my wife for our 6th anniversary.  Before we left to come home, I was able (after much begging and pleading) to convice her to let me hit a couple of flea markets/antique malls to search for some records.  I came home with about 10 LPs, including the ones pictured below, that I am particularly happy with.  I’ve not heard any of them, so comments about them are more than welcomed!

Handling Adversity – A Lesson From The Florida Boys

The past couple nights I have been watching AngelTwo’s telecast of the Music City Gospel Showcase from 2006 (I think).  Last night the Florida Boys (Reed, Garner, Allred, and McDonald were the vocalists) were featured on the program.  Anyone who was present in the audience or has seen this telecast got a wonderful lesson in professionalism from Les and the guys.  Les went through a brief introduction and called  the song “He Is Mine and I Am His”, but the track started playing a totally different song.  Les announced this song title quickly over the introduction (but on the telecast was basically inaudible), and Harold Reed took off with his verse.  They sang the incorrect song and didn’t miss a beat.  After the song was over, Les said something like “Obviously that wasn’t the song I thought we were going to sing, but I thought that one sounded pretty good too!”  With the recent event on American Idol of a performer (yes, you, Brooke White) stopping the house band and restarting because she flubbed the words, it was nice to see how true professionals handle some adversity.

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