Southern Gospel Perspective

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

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Location: United States

12/14/2005

The Days of Christmas, vol. 6

This article will put me halfway thru the 12 Days of Christmas, and let me tell you it's been more difficult than I thought it would be. Let's get right to today's recipient...

The Kingsmen have been around for decades (minus a brief hiatus as The Carolina Boys).
They have been on the top of Southern Gospel with award winning pianists, vocalists, and musicians (non-pianist band members I mean).
They were once known for producing the greatest live recordings in SG (see Big and Live, Live Naturally, etc.).
Jim Hamill was (in my opinion) the greatest MC in SG history. He was both entertaining (HA!) and spiritual (listen to Shake Hands With a Poor Boy intro on Live Naturally).

Today The Mighty Kingsmen are not quite so "mighty" anymore. Now before you die-hard Kingsmen fans get in an uproar, let me explain. I absolutely love Ray Dean Reese. He is as entertaining a bass singer as there is in SG today. Not only that, he is singing as good or better now than he ever did. Nick Succi is going to be a wonderful pianist. Jeremy Peace and Phillip Hughes do a fine job and being so young will definitely continue to grow in their confidence and ability. Tony Peace is one of the best baritones in SG; he is a fine showman and an excellent vocalist. I say all that so you will know I have nothing but respect for every current member of The Kingsmen. I just don't think they have "come together" as a group yet. Of course, they like many SG groups have gone thru several changes (and also Tim Surrett's vocal problems) over the last few months, which definitely creates issues with harmony, etc. The addition of Tony can only help these Kingsmen in their movement back to the top.

So, my Christmas gift to The Kingsmen is a return to the upper echelons of Southern Gospel quartet music. They have all the necessary ingredients and with a few years of stability I see them as returning to that proper spot for a group that travels with the name Kingsmen on their bus.

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