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NQC Highlights #4

September 16, 2011

1.  Brian Free is an awkward congregational leader.

2.  Collingsworth kids can sing.  Very talented family.  They keep getting better each time I hear them (minus some bad endings).  I believe it to be a highly plausible thing for them to be a big deal in a few years, as the younger kids began to grow into their voices, at least in the eye of the public’s sake.  They’re two boys short of a Brady Bunch, and with the beloved exception of the mother, the Brady’s are in mind.  So far, their best set of the week.

3.  Here’s the thing about the Pfeifers.  It’s something different.  And being from Kentucky, it is justified they are there.

4.  Let’s find a new song to see when groups get together besides “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More”.

5.  Wasn’t The Kingsmen’s “When My Feet Touch The Streets of Gold” enough for one time? I truly wasn’t expecting another go at it.  And then another on the Habedank tune.  I do like the new songs.

6.  Kingdom Heirs wasted a lot of time tonight with the Kreis/Steve comedy attempt on Abbott/Costello.

7.  I like to see Jeff Chapman’s nostrils flare up on the low notes.  Might be his secret.  I may try it.

8.  L5.  Nothing fancy.  Solid, quartet music.  It’s neat to see Gus point his finger UP when his note is progressing UP and point it DOWN when his note is progressing DOWN.  They sang two songs in a row about “change”.  Intended to poke fun at Gold City?  Their best performance of the night though, was the almost replica of “There’s Something About That Name” with a simple piano.  That was worth the set.

9.  This Lauren Talley marriage might just work out.  Brian Alvey sounded alright.  I think he just might add a refreshing new dynamic to their sound and style.  It took me a few times to hear it all and soak it all in, but that’s the conclusion I believe I’ve come to.

10.  Second contest winner, “Calvary’s Voice”, I think…  Who’s judging these things?  My rural church quartet would seriously be a winner here.  Or at the very least, pick a better song. I’m sure it took a lot of guts to do that.

11.  It doesn’t get any better than when Dustin Sweatman does his “Gambit” from X-Men impersonation. I had no doubt that “Statue of Liberty” would be the last choice.  They’ve mastered the song, I believe.  If you watch closely, when someone is a little off, if Trammell doesn’t have a bass guitar strapped around him, he’ll give a lil’ pinch under their arm, pointing them to right note.

12.  This needs a point of its own in regards to Patriotic songs at NQC.  We are all cornered now, and I mean that in a good way.  With NQC happening in September year after year, we will always be honoring 9/11.  Is there a better place to do it with a bunch of old Bible-thumpin’ conservatives.  I think not.  And amen.

13.  Wow…The Isaacs never cease to amaze me.  A fresh type of “new-grass” with complex harmonies, live, real and acoustic music and innovative musical arrangements is just the kind of thing that stirs my soul.  I would be the first to admit Ben Isaacs doesn’t possess my favorite voice, but it’s serviceable, and his ear and sense of timing is underestimated. And ole Sonya was able to dye that hair.  No bad roots.  (They strongly advise you to do that when you’re pregnant, by the way).

14.  When they sang that song for their mom, and the signs begin hitting the stage and I saw Ray Dean Reese, I began to tear up.  At first, I wanted to toss it off as an emotional ploy, until Reese walked up on stage.  The reality hit me that they are singing about the one thing that can set them free and heal them from sickness.  The Gospel.  That song was about far more than cancer.  The personal response of a family going through it with the one whom they love, stricken with cancer.  Christ is our source of strength in that pain.  It took a Kingsmen bass singer to help me see it.

15.  EHSS finally introduced a couple of new songs and I actually liked them.  So that’s a big step in the right direction.  Of course, I enjoyed the George Younce and Cats tributes, but some original material helps.  Ian Owens blends pretty well.  He has an odd or rather strange voice doing his solos, but he has some range and that maximizes the different avenues EHSS may choose to go.  For me though, the highlight was Doug Anderson’s solo.  Pure and simple, complete with a stool.  The higher Devin’s spikes get, the more I think it helps the soul factor in his voice.  It was kind of amazing to hear an almost flawless version of “O What A Savior” and a bunch of flat notes on the last one “Glory To God In The Highest”.  But he brought some power to the table…guess that’s what happens as you age. Could’ve done without the hot pink though.

16.  Omega.  I heard somebody say “they might be the next EHSS.”  That’s actually a real comment I heard.  Better than the last group anyways.  The one kid had some range, eh?

17.  Switched gears a little during the Dixie Echoes set.  Their new bass singer, Mike Jennings is pretty good though.  Not Pat Barker.  But if you like the Dixie Echoes, you’ll like this collection of guys.

18.  Got other things to do right now.

19.  Now, back to the GVB Reunion.  There is no doubt that Gaither finds some of the most talented men in the history of gospel music.  It is no coincidence that the artists in the building all find their way to get to that.  And Larnelle Harris beasted it this afternoon.  Michael English is sounding great, and sounds like his voice has healed.  And everyone pays attention when Phelps and Hampton do their thing.  Another lovely treats was Marshall Hall singing “When I Cry”.  Buddy Mullins looks like he has a fun time being there.  Bill really gave everybody a spotlight and the other guys stepped back and watched.

20.  I love these reunions and this was a clear highlight, but I wonder if we’re going to run out of enough of notable ones.  Next year, who can we get?  For those still alive anyways…  Florida Boys?  Maybe another Gold City reunion and expand the participants?  If we did a Kingdom Heirs reunion, there might not be many participants.  Or maybe an Imperials reunion?  A lot of them are still alive.  What would it to take to fill the auditorium and get all the other artists excited?

  1. #14: Teared me up as well…. Wow…

  2. For next year, I think they should do a “Jubilee” showcase with GV/L5/BB(/MTQ?). I think that’d be popular.

  3. quartet-man permalink

    I suppose an extended Gold City would be cool, but there have been so many changes and maybe some sour grapes I am not sure how much they’d be able to. Something I’d like to see, but whether it would work for many is a Stamps quartet reunion. Undoubtedly it wouldn’t be the same without J.D. but there have been some talented people in that group. Baize and Donnie Sumner, Dave Rowland, Ed Hill (if feasible), Richard Sterban (if they could pull it off). Strickland, Steve Warren etc. Some have already gone on.

    Maybe an extended Singing Americans reunion (although getting English might be tough) depending on the GVB’s schedule.

    Imperials would be cool if they could make it happen.

    • Ya know Q-Man, I believe if they thought it reasonable to do a GC Reunion, it would’ve been done by now as long as those classic groups have been apart. You can still get about 4 solid and different groups out of that. (I know Bob Oliver is still singing and Jerry Ritchie is gone, but is Benny Blackburn and Ken Trussell still around?) But true, some bridges have obviously been a burned a little. But then again, some were with the Cats too. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and make it work to make some dough.

      As for the Singing Americans reunion, I’m obviously in full agreement. But for a NQC afternoon special, I can’t really see it happening since they did “the group” last year. However, I say make Charlie Burke a little more for his mortuary. That would be a hit. But it would be no Reunion without “Mike” English.

  4. Steve Barbour permalink

    #3 Pfeifers are actually from Washington Court House, OH.
    #14 Very moving….
    #20 Imperials would be very interesting. Florida Boys would be a possibility. How about bringing back some groups that are no longer in existence, like maybe Won By One or Journeymen or something along those lines (of course, it probably wouldn’t be as big a draw as an Imperials or Florida Boys would be)

  5. quartet-man permalink

    FNR, well it took the Cathedrals a long time to do a reunion. For that matter, the Gaither Vocal Band too. The Oaks have not done any and although some members have met here and there, just choose to concentrate on their current and future career more than having an official reunion.

    As far as Singing Americans, they could do a reunion proper. Yeah, English, Parker, Funderburk, Strickland, Dwayne Burke and Clayton Inman would all be big losses (to varying degrees). Mike would be the largest or one of the very largest no doubt.

  6. Keith Waggoner permalink

    Just for the record, don’t know how much bigger the Collingsworth Family could get. They’re the real deal and I would say have already arrived. What defines a big deal? If it’s attendance figures at concerts…well, they’re killing almost everyone in that category outside of maybe GVB or EHSS. If it’s sales, they’re just killing it. I’ve worked a few festivals and that type of thing with them and the line to get to their table is like nothing I’ve ever seen, even at a Gaither concert. Our booth was down from theirs last year at NQC and it was the same thing there.

    By the way, I really enjoy your perspective. Good stuff. Keep it up.

  7. quartet-man permalink

    It might be being a household name. In that regard they aren’t there as much as other SG acts. I saw them maybe 15 or so years ago and they have certainly gained larger popularity since then.

    • Agree Q-Man. They are “arriving”. Helps to be associated with who they’re with such as Gaither and EHSS and they do have a huge following. I only noticed them about 2 or 3 years ago. I’m impressed. They are extremely talented. They will be dynamite. I just believe as their voices began to mature, they will be that much better and they will have “arrived”, at least in my mind. Think about how good they are right now. Then think of how good they could be…very soon, even. Right.

  8. A Gold City reunion is no longer relevant,because Ivan Parker cant even handle the baritone range now.

  9. AND,the Gaither Vocal Band doing the reunion at NQC without Guy Penrod,Jonathan Pierce,and Terry Franklin once again is supremely disingenuous

  10. quartet-man permalink

    Braxton, Parker has definitely lost voice and range. That is why keys get changed (although you really shouldn’t go too far).

    As far as the GVB, I would love to see them all together (including Lemuel “didn’t record an album with them” Miller.) I have no idea who was or wasn’t invited or why. Pierce seems to be out of the industry for a few years and bear in mind voices tend to drop over time. Pierce seemed to have a little trouble with the high notes back then and was possibly better suited to being a Michael English sort of lead. But even if he maintained his range, his voice is likely out of shape and perhaps he cannot get out of his work to go. I have no idea. Penrod WAS at the other reunion, so I don’t know why you said “again”. Franklin couldn’t be there due to other commitments. So, should they have not gotten together at all because some couldn’t or didn’t want to be there? Penrod has done Gaither taping since leaving the group and his album is sold through Gaither, so I don’t know there is any bad blood between them. I don’t know about him and NQC. I wouldn’t think that is it. Maybe there was a scheduling conflict, maybe his contract won’t allow him to, or maybe he is trying to distance himself from the group to establish his solo career. Or maybe he had plans, needed the vocal rest, or just wanted to be with his family. There are tons of reasons why he might not have been there. All the things I have mentioned are just possibilities that came to mind. I know nothing about it at all.

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