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

Archive for the ‘The Melody Boys’

The Melody Boys Ending The Song

January 24, 2012 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Melody Boys

I came across this surprising news article on the Singing News website this morning: the Melody Boys Quartet is retiring at the end of this year. The press release from the group:

The Melody Boys Quartet (TMBQ), one of America’s longest operating male quartets in gospel music, makes their official retirement announcement, effective New Year’s Eve, 2012.

Says Gerald Williams, who began his position as bass singer for TMBQ in 1949 at the age of 16, “We know there is a time and a season for all things. This is the right time. 63 years is a good season.”

TMBQ’s heritage goes all the way back to the late 1930’s when they performed three live radio programs daily as well as a healthy concert schedule. They were gospel music pioneers when they were the first gospel music group in Arkansas to move into the, then young, television market. They were among the groups that performed at the first National Quartet convention in 1957. At the death of owner, manager and bass vocalist, Herschel Foshee in 1949, pianist and song writer, ‘Smilin’ Joe Roper reorganized the group as The Melody Boys Quartet and introduced a new. young bass singer to the nation. Gerald Williams a Southern Gospel Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole’ Gospel Living Legend now his 63rd year as a professional vocalist.

Generation after generation of fans that love quartet music have labeled TMBQ’s sound as a touch of the past and a taste of the future. Quality sound and ministry integrity, tastefully mixed with family entertainment, is TMBQ’s trademark.

Beginning in March, TMBQ will embark on their ‘Exit 63’ Tour, which will run through the end of 2012. Mike Franklin, first tenor with TMBQ for over 19 years says, “We are still booking dates for this, our final year. If you’ve ever considered having The Melody Boys Quartet at your gospel sing or your church, NOW is the time to schedule.”

While it is saddening to see a long-time name end its run, I’m glad that Mr. Williams decided to do so before the TMBQ name became a caricature of its former self. I would like to see the group get some kind of nod at NQC this year, but since they haven’t been on main stage in a couple years, I’m not counting on it. I am interested to see what the other members of the group will do after the group shuts its doors; Gerald has surrounded himself with very capable vocalists that could either start another group together or be picked up by other groups┬áseparately, whatever the case may be.

Join me in saluting Gerald Williams and The Melody Boys Quartet for 63 years of great gospel music!

Afterthought: I got to thinking about it after I posted this, and somebody should really organize a Melody Boys Quartet reunion concert, possibly as a grand finale, and definitely taped. I’d personally love to see all the different lineups (that could be there) together again one last time, particularly that of Mike Franklin, Jonathan Sawrie, Jeremy Raines, and Gerald Williams. What say ye?

Youtube Roundup – 6/29/11

June 29, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Music, The Melody Boys, Youtube

While working on a review for an upcoming project, I went to Youtube, among other resources, to see if I could find out whether or not some songs were previously recorded by another group. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to an advent of technology like that site, I’m fascinated and usually get a bout of ADD, following a rabbit trail through the “Suggestions” sidebar. Somewhere in all of that, I stumbled across some recent footage taken at an Ernie Haase & Signature Sound concert in Bloomington, Illinois. The videos themselves aren’t as high quality as some out there, but they are still enjoyable, and many of them feature songs I’ve not heard the group do since Ian Owens joined on bass earlier this year. Check them out:


Someday – I haven’t heard the group do this opener to their 2007 Get Away Jordan project in quite a while, and Owens is settling quite well into the bass role for the group. For some reason, his backing harmonies on the first chorus remind of London Parris, which would be a high compliment to pay any bass singer.


Here We Are Again


Glory To God in the Highest – I really like the change they’ve made to the second verse of this song. The trade-off between Owens and lead singer Devin McGlamery is something I don’t believe I’ve heard utilized in any other rendition of this song, and while I’m sure the bass could carry the verse all the way through as it was originally done with Tim Duncan, the change of vocals make it unique to this lineup.


I Pledge My Allegiance


The Old Rugged Cross


Step Into The Water

And finally, on a completely unrelated note, here’s a video of the Melody Boys in one of their best lineups singing a pretty difficult song to pull off (and singing it well!):