Multi-Group Reunions

Any readers in the Nashville area, you have an opportunity tonight and tomorrow to check out some mini-reunions of several groups, including the Singing Americans (Danny Funderburk, Scott Whitener, Ed Hill, and Dewayne Burke), and the Stamps (Bill Baize, Donnie Sumner, Ed HIll, with Gene McDonald filling JD’s part) tonight.  Then tomorrow afternoon there is a matinee headlined by a Prophets reunion with Ed Hill, Chico Nix, Carl Sanders, Butch Sanders, Gary Scott, and Nick Bruno.  Tomorrow night is headlined by an Imperials reunion featuring Armond Morales, Jim Murray, David Will, and Jeff Walker (who sounded like a young Russ Taff when he was with the group in the mid 90s).

All this is happening in Goodlettsville, TN.  You can find more information at www.gospellegendsreunion.com.  It definitely sounds intriguing!

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The Definitives: “The Lighthouse”

This is the start of a new series of posts that I’ve been tossing around for a while.  The Definitive series will be taking a classic song from the SG genre and I will give my pick for the best version of the song.  First up is one of the most iconic songs in SG history, “The Lighthouse.”

Written by Ronnie Hinson, this song was of course originally performed by the Hinsons, but was covered by a plethora of groups.  Popular versions were recorded by the Goodmans, the Oak Ridge Boys, and the Downings among others, but pretty much every major group has covered the song at some point in their career.  There are a lot of really good versions, but the version recorded in 1972 by JD Sumner and the Stamps on Something Special rises above all the rest.  Donnie Sumner sings the verses on the Stamps’ version of the song, and it may well be the single best recorded vocal of his career.  Sumner sings the song with the power and range that really drives the song home, going up to (I think) a sustained A above middle C on the tag.  The power harmonies from the rest of the quartet are spot on.  If you’ve got a copy of the album, pull it back out and try not to take a shouting fit by the end of the song.

Many artists have covered “The Lighthouse”, and there are truly many fine versions of the song, but no one has ever been able to equal the Stamps and Donnie Sumner.

Recording Oops!: JD Sumner & The Stamps

I was listening to the album Sing Songs to Remember by JD and the Stamps a little while ago, and I noticed a little “oops” in the song “Jesus Is Coming Soon.”  On the second verse, Donnie Sumner is singing the pickups on the lead line with the rest of the quartet joinng him on the last couple of words.  On the last phrase of the second verse where the quartet comes back together,  I think the lyrics were a bit problematic for JD.  Donnie sings “Homeward we..” and the quartet joins for “..then shall fly, glory to share.”  With JD, if you listen closely, you’ll hear him sing “then shall fly, glrr..rrr…SHARE!”  🙂  Just something funny I head that I thought I’d share.  If you have the album, pull it up and listen.

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