Southern Gospel Perspective

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

Location: United States


This groups best ... The Cathedral Quartet

From some of my comments, I don't think everyone is understanding the concept behind these "This Groups Best ..." posts. I am not trying to pick a "snapshot" in time of a particular line-up. Instead, I am using every former member at each position to fill out an "ideal" roster. The line-up I choose may or may not have ever actually sung together.

This episode may be more controversial since people tend to have strong opinions about this group in particular. At least a couple of the positions are completely obvious.

Bass - The only bass singer the Cathedral Quartet ever had. George Younce. Come on you can't count the times Gerald Wolfe or someone else might have filled in at bass. I know they were a trio first, but they therefore didn't have a bass then, right? George is rightfully a legend among bass singers. He is one of the all-time best.

Lead - Again, the only full-time lead singer the Cathedrals ever had. Glen Payne was remarkable and wonderful. Glen was a lead singer who really could do it all. He could ( and did) sing baritone. He could sing bass. He could even sing tenor if he needed to. Glen was "the stuff"!

Baritone - Mark Trammell makes his return and is the all-time baritone for his second group (Gold City being the other). He's not done yet... Mark's should be the picture in the dictionary under the term baritone. He has defined the position for the past 25 years.

Piano player - Well, there are choices here. Haskell Cooley (sp?), Gerald Wolfe, Lorne Matthews, George Amon Webster, etc. However, the only acceptable choice is Roger Bennett. Roger's name became synonymous with The Cathedral name just as George and Glen did. He was a fantastic pianist and a genius at quartet accompaniment.

Tenor - Well, ok so this quartet did perform together. But it is still not the gist of what I'm trying to do here. Danny Funderburk was the greatest tenor to ever sing with The Cats. Danny could sing it slow, he could sing it high, he could sing it fast, he could sing solos and he could sing his part and do them all exceptionally. Danny is one of the top 5 tenor singers of all time, in any group. I've spoken to men who I respected and who know a thing or two about quartet singing and who sang with Danny and many other great tenors over the years. Every time I've heard them asked who was the best, Danny Funderburk's name was the one. I'll not disagree.

Here are your Cathedrals:

Tenor - Danny Funderburk
Lead - Glen Payne
Baritone - Mark Trammell
Bass - George Younce
Piano - Roger Bennett

Now THAT was a quartet!!


Anonymous Daniel J. Mount said...

I'd go with all of them except at the tenor part. I prefer power tenors (Haase) or operatic tenors (Taunton) to hammer tenors (Funderburk).

5:39 AM  
Blogger Southern Gospel Perspective said...

I would respectfully, but adamantly disagree with your description of Haase and Funderburk. The last way I would describe Danny would be a "hammer". Go back and listen to him sing "Whosoever Will" sometime.

Haase, to me, is much more of a "hammer" tenor than is Danny.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Daniel J. Mount said...

While both could sing softly and both could hammer, Funderburk spent much more of his time hammering notes than Haase did / does.

Funderburk told some people that the reason he left the Cathedrals for a group he thought would to less touring was that he'd nearly shot his voice singing tenor the way he sang it ("I've Just Started Living" etc.) night after night.

Yet Haase is still singing "Oh What a Savior" every night the same way he did it 20 years ago, only a half-step lower (F-sharp instead of G).

9:13 AM  
Blogger Southern Gospel Perspective said...

Well, his vocal problems could be as much (or more) about physiological differences/problems than the way he sang.

I agree that he did sing more difficult material than Haase ever has, and maybe the Cathedrals as a group learned something from Danny's vocal problems, I don't know.

As far as both being able to sing softly or "hard and loud", that is true, but Ernie's voice does not lend itself to the softer more expressive types of songs that Danny did. Songs such as "Whosoever Will", "The Galilean", "Whiter Than Snow", "They That Sow", etc.

Ernie is good on "Oh What a Savior", but I find it very telling that he never (to my knowledge) sang any of Danny's big songs (Somebody Touched Me, I've Just Started Living, etc). That always seemed a little unusual, especially with "I've Just Started Living" as that was very popular at the time Ernie started.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Kyle Boreing said...

I still favor Funderburk over Haase, but I agree that he did have a tendancy to push just a bit much. During the "Reunion" video, even with both of his big features lowered, he still seemed to struggle a little.

I've often wondered what it would've been like to have Ernie sing "I've Just Started Living"....

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hammer?..uh? Did anybody ever hear Danny sing "For what Earthly Reason" ? Danny's voice contained color and personality that is very rare. What character in that tone!
Right On SGP!

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have to agree. When Danny sang "For What Earthly Reason", there was so much passion and emotion! I don't think Haase could ever deliver the emotion or quality that Funderburk did. I'd have to say Funderburk was a more talented and more versatile tenor!

4:48 PM  

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