The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Community

May 25, 2013

Jim Bailey: Gospel historian hangs onto his roots in Alexandria

At the edge of Alexandria, a new sign proclaims: “Welcome to Alexandria, Home of Bill and Gloria Gaither.” It’s where Bill has lived his whole lifetime, and they’ve lived in the same house for half a century.

Bill has long regaled his audiences, whether live or watching the Homecoming videos, of his boyhood days on the farm when he rose early to milk the cows and tuned in an old radio to stations that carried Southern gospel artists. Or his regular trips to Joe’s Record Shop in Anderson to pick up specially ordered records of his favorite quartets.

In a storage closet in the Gaither Music Co. warehouse just north of Alexandria, many of those old 78 rpm records are stacked high among more recent vintage masters and leftover long-play records of the Bill Gaither Trio from the ’60s and ’70s. A few of those old 78s are cracked or broken as those brittle 10-inch discs were wont to do if not handled carefully. But even among those, the labels still list the names of singing groups long dead or disbanded, singing songs that have become classics in the gospel music field.

“Get Away Jordan” by the Statesmen more recently was revived by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Another Statesmen recording was “If God Didn’t Care.”

Then comes an album by the Stamps Quartet, the original V.O. and Frank Stamps singers rendering numbers such as “If We Never Meet Again” and “God Put a Rainbow in the Clouds.”

There’s a record by Leroy Abernathy and the Homeland Harmony Quartet, “Everybody Ought to Know Something.” The Harmoneers with “Lord Build Me a Cabin in Glory.” The Wally Fowler Quartet with “Dig a Little Deeper in God’s Love.” Red Foley with the Jordanaires singing “He’ll Understand and Say Well Done.”

A LeFevre Trio record contains “I’m Feeling Fine.” The original Blackwood Brothers – James, Roy, Doyle and Roy’s son R.W. – do “My Journey to the Sky” and “That Glad Reunion Day.” The Jordanaires sing “The Old Ship of Zion.” Stuart Hamblen renders “These Things Shall Pass.” The Sunshine Boys are heard on “Go Down to the Jordan.” V.B. “Vep” Ellis sings “I’m On the Battlefield.” And the Humming Birds, a black gospel group, sing “Wonderful Time Up There.”

I even have a copy of one of those old records, the Dixie Four singing “He’ll Understand and Say Well Done.”

Those individuals and most of the groups are long gone. But if you follow Gaither’s Homecoming videos you’ve heard most of those songs revived.

For Gaither, an incurable historian, these songs tell a story of a craft that has carried the gospel to the masses for a couple of centuries.

“Not all of them were good songs,” he admitted. “Some were pretty bad, just like pop and other fields.”

But it’s a piece of Americana that he’s glad to hang onto.

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

1
Text Only
Community
  • FEA - HB0420 - Cross carrier - JC 2 Crossing over to Christianity

    Tim Hanshew lives by 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” For the past six years, he has shared that power by carrying a large wooden cross throughout Anderson.

    April 19, 2014 4 Photos

  • 2014 Debutante Cotillion participants

    The 11 participants in this year’s Debutante Cotillion Beautillion Militaire were asked a variety of questions, including their influences, words that describe themselves and favorite “words to live by.” The event begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive. Call Antoinette Davis at 620-2229 for tickets, which are $270 per table or $30 each.

    April 19, 2014

  • FEA - HB0420 - 1008 Location, location, location When imagining the house of a farmer, people don’t tend to envision the home built by George and Nancy Likens. By pouring time and attention into their haven since they originally constructed the house in 1975, they have created an updated and lovely environment in the perfect setting.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Timmons, Theresa mug Theresa Timmons: Dinosaurs run amok at mamaw's house I love my new job as a grandparent. It includes playing imaginary tennis with imaginary tennis rackets, making elaborate tents in the living room, and hair-pulling.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA HB0420 schooltornadodamage Reliving the Orestes tornado of 1922 Spring is a time of new life and hope. A time when grass becomes green and flowers begin to bloom. But with the beauty of the season often comes the arrival of devastating storms. The spring of 1922 was no exception to the residents of Orestes.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Back in the News: April 20 The Herald Bulletin looks back at stories from the Anderson Daily Bulletin and The Anderson Herald newspapers. 10 Years Ago – 2004 April 21 – The Edgewood Baptist Church now is completely inside the town limits of Edgewood. The Town Council made it o

    April 19, 2014

  • 14th annual dog walkathon at Shadyside Park The Madison County Humane Society will host its 14th annual dog walkathon on Saturday, May 3. The walk will be at Shadyside Park between 8 a.m. and noon (rain or shine.

    April 19, 2014

  • Stringer, Maleah mug Maleah Stringer: Volunteers needed to spend time with shelter animals Shelters can be extremely stressful places for many animals, particularly those who have been in a loving home. This is why we want people to come into the shelter and spend time with our animals — to help keep them adoptable so that when the right person comes along they are ready.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Community Briefs: April 20 A compilation of community news items as published in the Sunday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bailey, Jim mug Jim Bailey: Wages were much less back then, but so were prices If you have any questions about what economists mean by inflation, just look at yesterday’s buying power. Those old western movies talked about wages of $1 a day. That wouldn’t even buy a burger at a fast food joint today by the time sales tax is added in.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Reader Pet Photos


We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin