Southern Gospel Perspective

My thoughts and opinions about Southern Gospel Music, both past and present. Feel free to comment and criticize...

Location: United States


The Days of Christmas, vol. 4

Busy Week, sorry!

I couldn't create this list without including Gold City, since they have been my favorite group for many years now.

I considered what it is Gold City needs (or might want) this Christmas and realized they certainly don't need: vocal ability, stage presence, better song selection, or anyone new at any of their 4 vocal positions. They have all of the above going for them already.

So, what to give Gold City?

Since the flurry of changes over the last couple of years and the recent loss of the band and Channing Eleton, I decided to give Gold City some respect and a second chance in their fans eyes. Meaning, I think too many fans have seen the departure of Mark, then Jay, Tim and Channing as signs that maybe GC doesn't "have it" anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Danny Riley has stepped up to the plate (as both baritone and MC) and really come thru. I'll be the first to admit that I was skeptical at first. I always liked Danny, but sometimes the songs he sang (as a part-time vocalist) did not do a lot for me. So, I went to my first post-MT concert with some concern. Believe me, my doubts were soon laid to rest. Danny stepped up there and just really did a great job. That first concert I don't think he had but one or two solos, but he did a wonderful job at the baritone part. Since then, Danny has added more solos and I've enjoyed them all.

Steve Ladd replaced Jay Parrack at tenor. Jay was one of my favorite (if not the favorite) tenors at the time he left GC. I'm sure many readers out there felt the same way. I'd heard Steve with The Anchormen of course, so I thought I knew what he would bring. My first thoughts were that GC would go back to the Brian Free type sound (I hoped not, but that was my impression). However, after hearing Steve live and then on CD, I couldn't believe my ears. Steve did sound a little like Brian, but he also sounded a lot like Jay in spots. However, overall he just sounded like a great tenor! He is continuing to do a wonderful job for GC.

Perhaps the most difficult replacement was Bill Lawrence replacing Tim and bass (and Danny replacing Tim as MC). Tim, in many peoples eyes (mine included) WAS Gold City. It would almost be like trying to replace George Younce with the Cathedrals. I had heard Bill fill in for Tim on a few occasions and thought he did a good job, but I hated that I had not gotten to hear Tim. Bill pretty much just sang his part and didn't try to do anything too flashy and so didn't make a huge impression on me. That is until late in the program when I heard the intro to "Under Control". I thought to myself, uh-oh, this could be bad (that and maybe Tim will run up to the stage real quick!). Man was I ever wrong. Bill Lawrence absolutely NAILED a song that could be called Tim Riley's signature song. After Bill joined GC full-time I've heard him several times and he is really getting more and more comfortable and sounds just awesome as GC's bass singer. As I said above, not only did they have to replace Tim's awesome bass vocals, but his impeccable MC work. Danny took over those duties and is really coming into his own in that regard. He shares the time with Jonathan and that really helps to add some variety to their program as well.

Channing's departure is so recent that it is hard to know the impact it will have. I know that Channing was a wonderful pianist and arranger and so he will be missed, but I also know that GC will keep on moving forward and not miss a beat.

So, Merry Christmas Gold City, your present would be that SG fans give you guys a good, fair, honest look and see that you are as good as ever. If they do, I think you will not only reclaim and keep your "old" fans, but bring in many new ones as well!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gold City is STILL great!
Tops in my favorite catagory.
Daniel Riley is absolutley awesome and has taken on a tremendous responsibility and masters each and everything he attempts. I would not expect anything less, considering he has been groomed by his dad.

Yes, the departure of Tim is sad, however, we knew at some point this could take place. People retire. People, realize that it is not always the person who "makes" the quartet.

Bill Lawrence is a fab bass. My husband says you can close your eyes and still hear Tim singing on some of the songs Bill is singing.

Steve Ladd has always been a fav tenor. Not favorite though, that spot belongs to John Rulapaugh. I enjoy listening to Steve.

Johnathan has super vocal abilities and stage presense. His passion for the music is unmatched.

I could gone on,however, I will give your eyes a rest.

8:11 AM  

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