All of this background brings me to the topic of Southern Gospel Music. My grandad would go to bed early on Saturday nights. He wouldn't go to sleep he just wanted to lay in bed and listen to the Southern Gospel Radio show that came on the radio. There were two windows in his bedroom and the windows would be up and a box fan would be in one of the windows pulling the cool evening air into the room making it cool enough that you needed to be under the covers. We would lay there together and listen to those wonderful gospel quartets. I don't remember him liking any specific songs or groups.
My granddad died the summer between 5th and 6th grade. He had chronic leukemia and he was in the hospital getting a blood transfusion and he had an allergic reaction to the blood and they didn't catch it in time and he died. I missed him terribly. I listened to a lot of country music in the years following and I stayed with the quartets like The Oak Ridge Boys and the Statler Brothers. I still loved the bass singers and spent a great deal of time trying to sing as low as Richard Sterban and Harold Reid.
The Statler Brothers- Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord (Live)
When I was in college I found Southern Gospel Music again and it has been a part of my life since. Sadly, I am the only in my family that cares for that type of music. Julie and her family would go to Saturday night gospel concerts at the convention center as a kid but she still doesn't care for it today.
This memory with my Grandad was triggered when my brothers and I were helping my Dad move. We spent last spring break cleaning out his house getting it ready to sell. I found so many old photos that I had never seen before. I also found some of the old ceramics that my Mom used to make. It got me thinking about who I am. I have always known I was my Mom's kid because I am long waisted and have short legs like she did. But as I thought about it, my Mom was a huge Ray Walker fan. He would come and lead singing at the annual gathering of all the Churches of Christ in Memphis. The event was called Training for Service. Sunday night all the churches in Memphis would meet together in the Mid-South Coliseum. The rest of the nights we would meet for classes at Harding Academy. All the kids would go to the new gym and it would kind of be like a youth rally.
I think my Mom owned every Ray Walker cassette tape he ever sold.
So really, I come by my love for gospel music honestly. I am not as weird as my wife and kids think.
If you have gotten this far reading this blog post, spend an hour on YouTube watching The Cathedrals, Gold City, Ernie Hasse and Signature Sound, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Statler Brothers, Ray Walker and the Jordanaires, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, Elvis, The Hoppers, The Happy Goodmans, The Fairfield Four, The Blind Boys of Alabama and the list could go on and on.