This Is My Story: 146 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers [NOOK Book]

Overview

This is My Story presents 146 of the most beloved gospel singers. Entries are arranged alphabetically by singer, and each consists of a full-page drawing of the person, biographical information including birth date, favorite Bible verse, hometown and musical accomplishments, and an inspirational story or testimony.


A great gift book for fans of gospel music, this is a quick reference for people who want to know more about their favorite ...

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This Is My Story: 146 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers

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Overview

This is My Story presents 146 of the most beloved gospel singers. Entries are arranged alphabetically by singer, and each consists of a full-page drawing of the person, biographical information including birth date, favorite Bible verse, hometown and musical accomplishments, and an inspirational story or testimony.


A great gift book for fans of gospel music, this is a quick reference for people who want to know more about their favorite singers. Most of the biographical information and stories were written by the singers themselves or their close friends and family.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780529110329
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/26/2005
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,146,156
  • File size: 47 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

David Liverett is a pen and ink illustrator and graphic artist. Each of the 146 drawings in This is My Story took ten to twelve hours to complete and the project has taken him nearly fourteen months. David and his wife, Avis, live in Anderson, Indiana.
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Read an Excerpt

This is my Story

146 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers


By David Liverett, Judy Spencer Nelon

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2005 David Liverett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-529-11032-9



CHAPTER 1

Mary Ann Gaither Addison

January 17, 1945—

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.... Psalm 23


In the mid-1950s a sister and her two brothers—Mary Ann, Danny, and Bill—began singing in small churches and at youth rallies in central Indiana. Their concerts consisted of gospel standards perfected around the family piano. When their voices went out on a daily broadcast, sponsored by the grocery store where Bill worked, what came back was a steady stream of invitations to sing not only at churches but also at fairs, farm bureau meetings, and civic gatherings. To accommodate their audiences, the trio added some secular favorites to their gospel music concerts. Before long they were singing most evenings and every weekend. That family threesome—Mary Ann, Danny, and Bill—was the genesis of the Bill Gaither Trio.

Eventually, the Trio's tour took them beyond Indiana borders to such nearby states as Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Mary Ann was barely in her teens when the Bill Gaither Trio made its entry into the world of gospel music. Her deep alto voice was the perfect blend with her brothers Bill and Danny. Mary Ann sang with the Bill Gaither Trio for eight years.

Married to Don Addison, the mother of two children and grandmother of five, today Mary Ann works for the Gaither organization as tour coordinator for Homecoming and Gaither Vocal Band Concerts. Like Bill, Mary Ann still lives in Alexandria, Indiana, near Grover's Corners, the home of their grandfather, Grover Gaither.

In 1999 Mary Ann was inducted with the Bill Gaither Trio into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. As a founding member of the Bill Gaither Trio, she is a pioneer in a musical style often referred to simply as Gaither music, still a heavy influence on the music world.


Doris Akers

May 21, 1923—July 27, 1995

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:5


After becoming a Christian, Tim Spencer, an original member of the Sons of the Pioneers, heard the music of Doris Akers and the Sky Pilot Choir of Los Angeles, California. He signed her to RCA Records and Manna Music Publishing.

One Sunday night at the world-famous Sky Pilot Church, just before the choir was to march into the evening service, Doris asked her choir members to pray Heaven down. She described this moment as very special and kept thinking over and over, "there is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place." The next morning she completed "Sweet, Sweet Spirit," which has become a classic gospel song. In 1965 Doris recorded an album that included the song with the Statesmen Quartet for RCA.

In 1993 Doris was invited to a Gaither Homecoming taping. Bill began to play the piano for her to sing her song, "Sweet Jesus." Bill couldn't seem to get the beat the way she wanted it, so she boldly walked over, pushed him off the piano bench, and began to play the beat that obviously only she could play. The Homecoming Friends erupted with laughter, especially Bill who enjoyed that kind of spontaneity which has contributed to the success of the video series.

In 2001 Doris received numerous awards and was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. The Smithsonian Institute also honored her multiple talents by labeling her songs and recordings "National Treasures." —Judy Spencer Nelon


Glen Allred

June 19, 1934—

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28


Glen was born Glennan H. Allred in Monroe, Tennessee, the youngest of the three children of Lola Grace and Homer Allred. While still in grammar school, he learned to read music. He remembers "a bunch of cousins who played" and that he "started playing a Gene Autry guitar when [he] was eight years old. It cost a whopping four dollars." When he was fourteen years old, Glen joined the Dixie Drifters, a country band in his hometown, Monterey, Tennessee. The group traveled in a pick-up truck, all four members riding in the cab. On one of their singing dates they opened a program for Wally Fowler and the Oak Ridge Quartet. Wally asked Glen to go to Louisville, Kentucky, the next Sunday to try out for the group. For about a year and a half, in the early 1950s, he played the guitar and sang baritone for the Oak Ridge Quartet. After being cut from the group in May of 1952, Glen left Nashville, Tennessee, and headed to Valdosta, Georgia, where he joined the Happy Rhythm Quartet. Later that year, he was offered a job with the Gospel Melody Quartet. Soon after that, Les Beasley joined the group, and in 1955 they changed their name to the Florida Boys.

Glen has one of the smoothest baritone voices in the business. Besides playing the guitar and singing his unique style, he is considered one of the sweetest and nicest men in southern gospel. Glen has been married to Shirley since 1954. They have two children, Randy and Cindy. He commends Shirley for her strong Christian faith and for taking their children to church all the years that he couldn't be there. He says he could not have made it without the support and faith of his family.

Glen was recently inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame and appeared on the February 2001 cover of Singing News.


Les Beasley

August 16, 1928—

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 NIV


Les was born Lester George Beasley in Crockett, Texas. As a preacher's kid, Les had plenty of opportunities to sing in church at an early age, and he loved singing with four-part harmony groups. A bad case of measles changed his voice forever.

The Beasley family lived in several places in eastern Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. After Les moved from West Helena, Arkansas, to Beaumont, Texas, he joined the Marines just as the United States was entering the Korean War. He saw action in both South and North Korea as part of the First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division.

After the war, Les joined the Gospel Melody Quartet in 1955. The Quartet was soon renamed the Florida Boys. He has managed the group for over forty years. Les is a lifetime member of the board of directors of the Gospel Music Association and served as president for two years. He is president of The National Quartet Convention, which annually promotes the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Les's son, Clarke, continues the family tradition as director of the National Quartet Convention.

As producer of the nationally syndicated "Gospel Singing Jubilee" program, Les Beasley pioneered gospel music on television.

A committee composed of Bill Gaither, Herman Harper, and Les suggested that the GMA board present an award as part of their annual meeting. Les named it the Dove Award.

Les Beasley believes he is doing what the Lord would have him do, and that has kept him singing these fifty-plus years.


Roger Bennett

March 10, 1959—

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 NIV


Pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Roger Douglas Bennett was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas. At an early age Roger learned to love southern gospel music and enjoyed the harmonies of the Florida Boys, the Kingsmen, the Goodmans, and the Cathedrals, the group he joined in November 1979. Joining this group represented the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Roger. Singing southern gospel music was truly his desire in life. Roger remained with the legendary Cathedral Quartet until its retirement from the road in 1999.

With Cathedrals' baritone Scott Fowler, Roger helped form Legacy Five, one of today's leading quartets. Over the years, Roger has received many awards presented by his fans and peers, including the Singing News Favorite Pianist from 1993 to 2003 and the Dove Award for Southern Gospel Song of the Year in 1999 for "Healing."

Roger is also a very accomplished songwriter, having penned several singles and number-one songs. Roger comments that his favorite song is "Blessed Assurance," and his favorite self-penned composition is "Whispers in the Night."

Even though his awards are appreciated, the most special and memorable thing for Roger has been the outpouring of love and prayers when he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1995. "My family and I literally depended on God every day to get us through. And God used our musical family to keep us encouraged. Our lives have been touched so much by their love and concern."

Roger and his wife, Debbie, live in Thompson Station, Tennessee, with their children, Chelsea and Jordan. —Crystal Burchette


Doyle Blackwood

August 22, 1911—October 3, 1974

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3


Doyle Jimmie Blackwood was born in a three-room shack on a small farm near Ackerman, Mississippi. His parents, William Emmett and Carrie Blackwood, were sharecroppers. He had two brothers and a sister. Though poor, the family was strong and had a deep religious commitment.

Doyle was fascinated by music even in childhood. Emmett and Carrie recognized their children's musical talent and sold valuable prize chickens to finance music lessons. While the older children were at school, Doyle would amuse himself by singing songs he had learned in church that week. He learned to sing harmonies, play the mandolin, and read shaped notes in Sunday school. He commented, "My first and most lasting ambition was to learn everything possible about singing and then to become a professional gospel singer."

Doyle liked the singing style of the Delmore Brothers and of Jimmie Rodgers. His favorite song over the years was "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus." In the early years of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, he accompanied the group on the mandolin and guitar. He was also the original manager and master of ceremonies. He was called the "Mighty Mite of the Mike" because he stood five feet, three inches tall and weighed 102 pounds. He always enjoyed a good joke about his size.

Doyle died in 1974 as a result of complications suffered from an accident at his farm in Hernando, Mississippi. His life was one of service to people and obedience to God. Everyone loved him.

Doyle was married to Carmen; their children are Terry and Karen. —Charles de Witt


James Blackwood

August 4, 1919—February 3, 2002

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2


In 1934 fifteen-year-old James Webre Blackwood joined his brothers, Doyle and Roy, and his nephew, R W, to form a group called the Blackwood Brothers. No one could have known then the impact that the Blackwood Brothers and James Blackwood would have on a fledgling style of music known as southern gospel.

Since it was difficult to make a living as musicians in those days, the group disbanded in 1935. At that time, Roy and R W left their hometown of Ackerman, Mississippi. When they returned a couple of years later, the Blackwood Brothers began singing together once again.

In 1939 James married Miriam (Mim) Grantham in a double wedding ceremony with Doyle and his bride, Carmen. Mim became a role model for other quartet wives as she stood by James, realizing the calling he had from God. They had two sons, Jimmy and Billy.

After World War II ended, the quartet took on a new look for James, R W, and Doyle Blackwood: Bill Lyles began singing bass. The group became famous and made its first television appearance in 1948. In 1952 the Blackwood Brothers were acclaimed as having their best quartet yet when James, R W, and Bill were joined by tenor, Bill Shaw. In 1954 they won the "Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts" program. Not long after this recognition, a tragic plane crash in Clanton, Alabama, took the lives of R W Blackwood and Bill Lyles. James said he would never sing again; but, after much prayer, he stayed with the group. Cecil Blackwood became the new baritone, J. D. Sumner was the new bass, Bill Shaw was tenor, and Jack Marshall on the piano rounded out the group.

James was inducted into the GMA and SGMA Halls of Fame and won countless awards and honors for his many contributions. He is remembered for singing two songs in particular, "How About Your Heart" and "I'll Meet You in the Morning."


Jimmy Blackwood

July 31, 1943—

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

It was 1943 and World War II was raging when James and Mim Blackwood moved to National City, California. There on July 31 Mim gave birth to their first son, James, Jr. After the war the family moved back to Iowa where James, Jr. (Jimmy) began piano lessons at the age of six. In 1950 when the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, James had hopes for Jimmy to play the piano for the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. In 1962 Jimmy attended the Stamps School of Music in Dallas, Texas, for more piano instruction; to everyone's surprise he sang his first solo. Thus began a singing career that has spanned four decades.

Jimmy met Mona during a youth fellowship outing, and they married in 1963. They have two beautiful daughters and five awesome grandchildren, who "surpass any award man has ever given."

Jimmy sang with the Junior Blackwood Brothers, and as a member of the Stamps Quartet and the Blackwood Brothers, was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Blackwood Brothers won five Grammys and received numerous other nominations while Jimmy was with them. In 2003 Jimmy and the Blackwood Brothers joined the Jordanaires on Englebert Humperdink's first gospel album, which was also a Grammy nominee.

In March 1984 Jimmy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, with a very short life expectancy; but he was miraculously healed. Rev. Dan Betzer wrote the account in the book Deliverance ... In the Valley of Death.

In 1986 Jimmy began a solo ministry, singing and sharing his testimony of God's wondrous healing power. He continues to bless people in his solo ministry and through the reunion of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. The Blackwoods were pioneers in the gospel music industry, and that legacy continues through the voice of Jimmy Blackwood who sounds a lot like his famous father. —Mona Blackwood


R. W. Blackwood, Jr.

November 27, 1942—

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4


Robert Winston Blackwood, Jr. was born in National City, California; by his eighth birthday his family had moved to Memphis, Tennessee. When Winston was ten, his father heard him singing in the car and told him, "You will be singing in the next Blackwood Brothers concert." Not long after that, on June 30, 1954, his father was killed in a tragic plane crash in Clanton, Alabama.

By the time Winston was twelve, he had sung at a Billy Graham Crusade and had won the top award on the national television show, "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour."

As he grew older, Winston lost interest in gospel music and wanted to be a rock star, due partly to the influence of Elvis Presley, whom he had known prior to his father's death. Winston moved to Nashville but had little success with his career. However, he received a call to join other sons of the original Blackwood Brothers to form the Junior Blackwood Brothers.

Winston had not been in church much after his father's death and had never made a commitment to God. In fact, he had been a "big party boy." As the Junior Blackwood Brothers continued to travel and sing the precious songs his father had sung, Winston became convicted. He gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ at a revival service in 1964.

At present Winston, his wife, Donna, his brother, Ron, Ron's wife, Shelley, and two other men have formed the Blackwood Singers. They perform in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Winston's favorite song, "His Hand in Mine," is one that his dad often sang.

After their marriage in 1965, Winston and Donna had two children, Andrea and Rob, who have given them seven grandchildren.


R W Blackwood, Sr.

October 23, 1921—June 30, 1954

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. John 14:1–4


Born in Ackerman, Mississippi, R W Blackwood, Sr. and his brother, Cecil, grew up traveling with their parents, Roy and Susie. Because Roy was an evangelist and church overseer, R W began singing at age three in church and revival services with his father. At eight he was singing tenor in a quartet that his father had formed in the church he was pastoring. Even then R W was a hit. He was able to attend "singing schools" and "singing conventions" all over the South and Southeast. This kind of schooling, where he learned technique, how to read shaped notes, and how to perfect his God-given talent, was R W's favorite. When he would return to the homeplace in Ackerman, Mississippi, he and his Uncle James, two years his senior, would climb a tree and discuss the "singing school" lessons they had learned.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from This is my Story by David Liverett, Judy Spencer Nelon. Copyright © 2005 David Liverett. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................     xiii     

Mary Ann Gaither Addison....................     3     

Doris Akers....................     5     

Glen Allred....................     7     

Les Beasley....................     9     

Roger Bennett....................     11     

Doyle Blackwood....................     13     

James Blackwood....................     15     

Jimmy Blackwood....................     17     

R. W. Blackwood, Jr....................     19     

R W Blackwood, Sr....................     21     

Terry Blackwood....................     23     

Michael Booth....................     25     

Ronnie Booth....................     27     

Kelly Crabb Bowling....................     29     

Mike Bowling....................     31     

John Bowman....................     33     

Rebecca Isaacs Bowman....................     35     

Jim Brady....................     37     

Anthony Burger....................     39     

Candy Hemphill Christmas....................     41     

Kelly Nelon Clark....................     43     

Cynthia Clawson....................     45     

Aaron Crabb....................     47     

Adam Crabb....................     49     

Gerald Crabb....................     51     

Jason Crabb....................     53     

Kathy Crabb....................     55     

Andraé Crouch....................     57     

Denver Crumpler....................     59     

Jessy Dixon....................     61     

Sue Dodge....................     63     

Ann Downing....................     65     

Paul Downing....................     67     

Jeff Easter....................     69     

Sheri Easter....................     71     

Michael English....................     73     

Larry Ford....................     75     

Scott Fowler....................     77     

Bill Gaither....................     79     

Danny Gaither....................     81     

Gloria Gaither....................     83     

Joy Gardner....................     85     

Larry Gatlin....................     87     

Karen Peck Gooch....................     89     

Howard Goodman....................     91     

Rusty Goodman....................     93     

Sam Goodman....................     95     

Vestal Goodman....................     97     

Buddy Greene....................     99     

Rodney Griffin....................     101     

Ernie Haase....................     103     

Marshall Hall....................     105     

Stuart Hamblen....................     107     

Suzy Hamblen....................     109     

Larnelle Harris....................     111     

Joel Hemphill....................     113     

LaBreeska Hemphill....................     115     

Jake Hess....................     117     

Judy Martin Hess....................     119     

Lou Wills Hildreth....................     121     

Jim Hill....................     123     

Stephen Hill....................     125     

Kenny Hinson....................     127     

Ronny Hinson....................     129     

Claude Hopper....................     131     

Connie Hopper....................     133     

Dean Hopper....................     135     

Kim Hopper....................     137     

Benjamin Isaacs....................     139     

Lily Isaacs....................     141     

Sonya Isaacs....................     143     

Susan Peck Jackson....................     145     

Bob Johnson....................     147     

Jeanne Johnson....................     149     

Jimmy Jones....................     151     

Lillie Knauls....................     153     

"Blessed Assurance"....................     154     

"How Great Thou Art"....................     155     

Alphus Le Fevre....................     157     

Eva Mae Le Fevre....................     159     

Mylon Le Fevre....................     161     

Urias Le Fevre....................     163     

Hovie Lister....................     165     

Mosie Lister....................     167     

Mark Lowry....................     169     

Bill Lyles....................     171     

Jonathan Martin....................     173     

Joyce Martin....................     175     

Babbie Mason....................     177     

Gene McDonald....................     179     

Gary McSpadden....................     181     

Audrey Mieir....................     183     

Johnny Minick....................     185     

Armond Morales....................     187     

Joe Moscheo....................     189     

Buddy Mullins....................     191     

Jim Murray....................     193     

Judy Spencer Nelon....................     195     

Rex Nelon....................     197     

Calvin Newton....................     199     

Doug Oldham....................     201     

Doy Ott....................     203     

Ivan Parker....................     205     

Squire Parsons....................     207     

Janet Paschal....................     209     

Sandi Patty....................     211     

Glen Payne....................     213     

Guy Penrod....................     215     

David Phelps....................     217     

Rosa Nell Speer Powell....................     219     

Elvis Presley....................     221     

Wesley Pritchard....................     223     

Dottie Rambo....................     225     

Lynda Randle....................     227     

Naomi Sego Reader....................     229     

Don Reid....................     231     

Harold Reid....................     233     

Mary Tom Speer Reid....................     235     

Tim Riley....................     237     

Charlotte Penhollow Ritchie....................     239     

Rosie Rozell....................     241     

Bill Shaw....................     243     

Hazel Slaughter....................     245     

Henry Slaughter....................     247     

Ladye Love Smith....................     249     

Reggie Smith....................     251     

Ben Speer....................     253     

Brock Speer....................     255     

Faye Speer....................     257     

Lena "Mom" Speer....................     259     

Tom "Dad" Speer....................     261     

Ira Stanphill....................     263     

Derrell Stewart....................     265     

Gordon Stoker....................     267     

Donnie Sumner....................     269     

J. D. Sumner....................     271     

Tanya Goodman Sykes....................     273     

Russ Taff....................     275     

Amber Nelon Thompson....................     277     

Jack Toney....................     279     

Wally Varner....................     281     

Jason Waldroup....................     283     

Earl Weatherford....................     285     

Lily Fern Weatherford....................     287     

James "Big Chief" Wetherington....................     289     

Gerald Wolfe....................     291     

Woody Wright....................     293     

George Younce....................     295     

Acknowledgments....................     297     


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