Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.

Archive for the ‘The Florida Boys’

RIP Billy Todd

November 30, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Florida Boys

Dixie Echoes pianist Stewart Varnado sent out a newsletter saying this:

It is with a heavy heart that I write this email to let you know that my friend
and former Florida Boys & Dixie Echoes bass singer, Billy Todd, passed away
this morning (November 30th), after a long battle against alzheimers.

Arrangements are still pending. They will be available at www.singingnews.com once
they have been finalized.

I have just uploaded a “Remembering Billy Todd” page on our website: www.dixieechoes.com
that consists of a brief biography along with many pictures of Billy throughout
the years.

Please keep the Todd family in your prayers.

God Bless you all!
Stewart Varnado
Dixie Echoes

This is sad news; I enjoy hearing Todd sing on old Florida Boys projects. However, we all know he’s not suffering anymore.
I encourage you to check out the tribute on the Dixie Echoes website and I echo (no pun intended) Stewart in saying to pray for the Todd family.

Three Gospel Gems

January 28, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG History, SG Music, The Cathedrals, The Florida Boys

In my Youtube surfing today, I stumbled across these old videos. This is some great stuff!

is a video Darrell Stewart and Clarke Beasley taking the lead on “This Heart Of Mine”, with Les Beasley playing piano and Glen Allred playing bass guitar. The rest of the lineup is tenor Rick Busby and bass Buddy Liles.

Check out this OLD clip of Gold City singing “In My Robe Of White”. This must be right before Ivan Parker and Mike LeFevre joined. The lineup is tenor Brian Free, lead Jerry Ritchie, baritone Ken Trussell, bass Tim Riley, and pianist Garry Jones.
Update: Says commenter Helen Westberry:

“The Gold City lineup on the video is Brian Free as tenor, Bill Crittendon as lead, Jerry Ritchie as baritone, Tim Riley as bass, Garry Jones on piano, John Noski on drums, Jerry Lloyd on steel guitar, Ken Bennett (I believe) on bass guitar.”

And finally, a clip of Ernie Haase and The Cathedrals singing “Oh, What A Savior”. This is about a week after Ernie joined the group. The lineup is tenor Ernie Haase, lead Glen Payne, baritone Mark Trammell, bass George Younce, and piano Roger Bennett.

Update #2: Thought it would serve dial-up users better if I did not embed the videos.

Josh Garner Going Solo?

September 05, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Josh Garner, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Florida Boys

According to SingingNews.com:

Josh Garner Releases First Solo Recording

LIMESTONE, TN (Press Release) – Josh Garner, long time lead vocalist for the Florida Boys Quartet, is proud to announce the arrival of his first solo recording. “Sunday Meetin’ Time” is a collection of some of Josh’s favorite hymns of the church and Gospel standards. “When the Florida Boys retired, I had a lot of free time on my hands and thought I’d use it to finally record a few of my all-time favorite Gospel songs”, Garner says. “I wanted to sing these songs just the way I remembered hearing them on Sunday morning at church. My buddies Stewart Varnado and Scoot Shelnut provided me just the right musical backup to give the recording a truly nostalgic sound.” Pre-release copies of “Sunday Meetin’ Time” will be available at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY.

To order a copy of “Sunday Meetin’ Time” or schedule a personal appearance, Josh can be reached at: Josh Garner 743 Snapp Bridge Rd. Limestone, TN 37681 (850) 529-0790 fbjoshg@aol.com

Aw man… looks like he ain’t gonna be joining any quartets…

Florida Boys To Give Final Performance At NQC 2007

June 20, 2007 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Florida Boys

Just read on SGN that the Florida Boys, while still retiring in July, have agreed to perform all of their slots at NQC 2007. The Saturday evening concert block will be “a special segment… paying tribute to the Florida Boys’ 60-year career. The tribute will be followed by a very special, last performance by the Florida Boys.”

If you’re excited now, then listen to this! The Boys will be joined by former group members during the performances, as well as some by the current lineup!

I don’t like the current lineup, but former members?!?! YES!!!! We get to hear Gene McDonald sing one last time! I’m definitely planning to attend NQC 07 now!

Another Group Retiring

June 12, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Gene McDonald, Josh Garner, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Florida Boys, The Kingsmen

Well, looks like another legendary, old group is going off the road.

According to averyfineline, and later confirmed by group owner Les Beasley, the Florida Boys are retiring in July.

What a shame… I guess the writing was on the wall when bass Gene McDonald and tenor Harold Reed left the group. Reed is singing with the Kingsmen and McDonald is working for a bus company. In the final days, the Boys bumped lead Josh Garner up to tenor with Beasley singing lead, and quite honestly, it didn’t work. Hopefully at least Garner can find another big-time group to sing with, because he’s a great lead…

Adios, Florida Boys. God bless…

EDIT: A guy on averyfineline pointed out that I had both Garner and Beasley singing tenor. Thanks Thom!

Groups Long Overdue For A New Recording

May 15, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Gaither Vocal Band, Gold City, Legacy Five, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, The Florida Boys, Valor

With the Gaither Vocal Band recently announcing that they’re at work on a new album (just them, not the upcoming EHSSQ/GVB dual effort), it got me to thinking about other groups that I want another project from. Here’s some of them:
The Florida Boys- after they get a new tenor and everything calms down on the personnel end, I’d love to hear a new one from these guys!

Mercy’s Mark- it’s been a while since the 2006 release of Something’s Happening. These guys will undoubtedly keep getting better with each one, so why not go to work?

Legacy Five- Don’t really need to mention them in this list, since they’re at work on a summer project, but I just can’t wait!

Gold City- Another one I don’t need to mention, because in their SoGospelNews.com blog they mentioned a new one in the works…

Valor- This trio should just wait to see the response to their performance at NQC this year before going ahead with anything but I’d still like to hear some more.

Those are the major ones that come to mind. Hopefully they might stumble upon this humble blog and go for it!