15 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Interesting. In a funny way.

  2. :-)

  3. Just try switching it around, and you’ll see. :P

  4. Tenors work the hardest and carry the mail at the end of the song. Because of the sustained strain they often don’t have lifelong careers as tenors. But they are the grandiose, dramatic singers of the group.

    Lead singers provide the color and usually must carefully interpret the song and its message, since they more often sing the melody. They bring imagination to the story line.

    Baritones tend to heal the sound with their rich intonation. They play the important role of utilitarian and as such don’t usually get a lot of glory. But they are oh-so important to the sound.

    Basses provide sporadic excitement with their controlled growls. Of the entire group the bass has the easiest job in that his part is not accomplished by vocal strain. His biggest goal is to relax his vocal cords that facilitates lower singing.

    The tenors sing “Glory Road” because their high part brings them closer to Heaven.

    Basses sing “Lonesome Road” because the usually end up farther from the rest of the group in pitch. It must be just plain lonesome down there where only elephants can relate.

  5. Brilliant analysis by Neil Enloe. :)

    I wasn’t there, but at an NQC showcase a few years ago, a quartet did “Looking For A City”. Instead of going higher each time, they started with the baritone in the lead and kept going LOWER!

    That must have been interesting!

  6. Hmmm….you may have stumbled onto something, Daniel. “Contradicting Gospel Music.” “Glory Road” vs “Lonesome Road,” “I Know” vs “I Wanna Know,” “Child Of A King” vs “Wayfaring Stranger”……

  7. I’ve always wanted to hear a bass sing “Looking For A City”.
    Tony Jarman has a richness to his voice that just might (??) work with “Lonesome Road”. I’d love to hear Dan Keeton doing a yet higher lead on this (hint…are you reading, Dan?)
    Gene McDonald or Jeff Pearl would sound great solo on “Gloryroad”, starting out very low, eventually bringing it up 2 or 3 octives.

  8. #5 I’ve thought about that, too. In the Christian bookstore where I used to work, we had our Christmas soundtracks. One on top of the other were these 2 tracks:
    “Mary, Did You Know?”–Mark Lowry
    “Mary Knew”–Brian Free & Assurance

  9. As a bass, I always thought “The Judgment” by the Kingsmen would sound good (and more ominous) with a bass lead rather than tenor. I might do that one day.

    Also, I heard about a song on a video with Heavenbound (or maybe the Singing Americans?) where the bass sang lead and the tenor sang bass (with a slide on the bass mic ending in an on-pitch *raspberry*.

  10. One tenor who did it right was Blackwood Brothers longtime tenor, Bill Shaw. He sand with them for well over 20 years (1950’s -1070’s), and still sings today.

  11. Well, Duane Nicholson started singing tenor with The Couriers in 1956 and has sung with the afore-,mentioned Neil Enloe from 1957 up to the present – still singing the tenor part beautifully – after 52 years.

    Roy Pauley has written that he regards Duane as being the best tenor in Gospel Music from 1970-1975. (Bill Shaw was named for an earlier period).

    I had the privilege of hearing Neil, Duane and Dave Kyllonen (the original Couriers) in person this past Decenber 31st – along with about 1000 or so other people, I guess – and they were still powerful, dynamic, on-pich and stirring.

    Talk about longevity!

  12. #9 – Perfect Heart did what you mentioned. The baritone (Darren someone) move to piano, the pianist (Jeff Stice) moved to tenor, the tenor (Gary Sheppard) moved to bass and did the raspberry, the bass (Mike Presnell) moved to lead, the lead (Dale Shipley) moved to baritone.

  13. Ah, yes! That’s the group! Thanks! Oh…does anyone know where one my find such a video? My friend told me about it back when he had the huge satellite dish and GMT was around.

  14. Those born as Buckeyes don’t have quite as an inventive language compared to those born or raised elsewhere.
    So Levi, what in the world is an “on-pitch *rasberry*” ?
    Yep, “Judgement” would be a great bass feature. How about I record you singing it @ the Buckeye sing? HAHA!!!

    natesings,
    did you mean to say that Shep sang “Judgement” as bass vocalist w/Perfect Heart ?

  15. Above, you see definite incontrovertible evidence that Neil Enloe was dropped often on his head as a child.

    How interesting that the way we first hear a song often defines the way we will view it from that time on. “Glory Road” and “Lonesome Road” will tend to always seem like tenor and bass features respectively, without regard to how else they could be effectively treated.

    This is the main reason stated in the law as to why a song can not be recorded for the first time without the express permission of the author. After the first recording, any other artist may record it. But, the first recording of a song is controlled by an author so he can control the manner in which his song will first be presented to the public – in recognition that the first impression that the public gets of the song will likely become attached to it from that point on.

    But, small wonder that “I’ve Got to Walk that Lonesome Road”, written by JD Sumner when he was with The Blackwood Brothers, featured the bass part. James Blackwood liked to point out to the crowds that most of the songs JD wrote featured him.