Singing Americans

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The Singing Americans
Origin Maiden, North Carolina
Genres Southern Gospel
Years active 1968 (1968)–1994 (1994)
Associated acts Triumphant Quartet
Gold City

The Singing Americans was a Southern Gospel group based in Maiden, North Carolina. They are best known for being a stepping stone to popular singers, such as Mark Flaker (Florida Boys) Ivan Parker (Gold City), Danny Funderburk (The Cathedrals), Clayton Inman (Kingdom Heirs, Won By One, and Triumphant Quartet), David Sutton (Kingdom Heirs and Triumphant Quartet), Michael English (Gaither Vocal Band), Mark Fain (Gold City and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder), Taylor Barnes (Gold City), and Jeff Easter (Jeff and Sheri Easter). The group was popular throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

History[edit]

The Singing Americans were started in 1968 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina ( by Lamar and Sims )and was owned by Homer Wadford. In 1973 when the Oak Ridge Boys were beginning to make their transition from gospel to country, the Singing Americans were signed by the prestigious Lou Wills Hildreth agency in Nashville. In an article announcing the signing, the Singing News predicted that based on their sound and popularity, that the Singing Americans would take the Oak Ridge Boys spot as the number one quartet in gospel music. Unfortunately, their owner, Homer Wadford had a different sound in mind, and wanted to see the group move in a different direction stylistically. In 1980, the group was sold to Charles Burke, who later went on to own the Kingsmen Quartet name for a few years, and obtained all new personnel with Mark Flaker singing tenor, Charles Surratt singing baritone, Ed Crawford singing Lead, and Charles Burke's son, Dwayne, singing bass.Mark Flaker left later that year and was replaced by Danny Funderburk. Ed Crwaford left and was replaced by Michael English, who would leave for a couple years and be replaced by Ivan Parker then Clayton Inman. Also, in 1982, Surrat would leave and be replaced by Southern Gospel legend, Ed Hill. When Michael English left for the second time in 1985, he was replaced again by Clayton Inman, who would replace Hill in 1987 in the baritone spot, leaving the lead open for Scott Whitener. The 1990s started a decline in the popularity of the Singing Americans, but it did not mean they still weren't capable of producing popular singers. David Sutton and Taylor Barnes passed through the group during this time. Finally, in 1993, the Singing Americans produced their final album, "Live from Chicago", before retiring in 1994. In August 1996, promoter/historian Charles Waller reunited English with Ed Hill, Rick Strickland, Dwayne Burke and Milton Smith as the Singing Americans, before an audience of over 4,000 gospel music fans at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. and in 2010 at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY at a showcase commemorating the 100th anniversary of Southern Gospel music.

Members[edit]

Tenor

  • Bob Sims (1968-1971)
  • Rodney Hoots (1972-197?)
  • Mark Flaker (1980)
  • Danny Funderburk (1980-1983)
  • Rick Strickland (1984-1986)
  • Phil Barker (1986-1988)
  • Greg Shockley (1988-1990)
  • David Walker (1990-1992)
  • David Sutton (1992-1994)
  • Greg Bentley (1994)

Lead

  • Preston Yates (1968-1971)
  • Bob Lemar (1972-1974) (moved from baritone; also played piano and managed)
  • Glenn Dye (1973-1974) (swapped lead parts with Lemar)
  • Ed Crawford (1979-1981)
  • Michael English (1981-1982, 1983-1985)
  • Ivan Parker (1982-1983)
  • Clayton Inman (1983, 1985-1987) (moved to baritone)
  • Scott Whitener (1987-1992
  • Dale Forbes (1992-1994)
  • David Hill (1994)

Baritone

  • Bob Lemar (1968-1971) (moved to lead; also played piano and managed)
  • Mickey Blackwelder (1972-1974)
  • Wayne Maynard (1974-1979)
  • Charles Surratt (1980-1981)
  • Ed Hill (1981-1987) (Surratt and Mike Lefevre filled in for Hill several months after he was injured in a bus wreck.)
  • Clayton Inman (1987-1989) (moved from lead)
  • David Jenkins (1989-1990)
  • David Harvell (1990-1992)
  • Buddy Burton (1992-1994)

Bass

  • Norris Rife (1968-1971)
  • Rick Lott (1971-1972)
  • Danny Gallimore (1972-1973)
  • Hovie Walker (1973-197?)
  • Jerry Brown (197?-19??)
  • Dwayne Burke (1980-1990)
  • Larry Stewart (1990-94)

Piano

  • Bob Lemar (1968-1972) (piano, also sang lead)
  • Joel Harris (1972-1973)
  • Jimmy Taylor (1973-1974)
  • Jerry Hatley (1981-1984)
  • Martin Guresko (1984-1985
  • Milton Smith (1985-1986)
  • Phil Huffman (1986-1987)
  • James Rainey (1987-1990)
  • Keith Denson (1990-1992)
  • Jerry Kelso (1992)
  • Joe Lane (1992-1993)
  • Chuck Trivett (1993)
  • Randy Matthews (1993-1994)

Bass Guitar

  • Euclid Huella (1968-1971)
  • Tony Buttler (1971)
  • Jeff Easter (198?-1987)
  • Mark Fain (1987-1988)
  • Taylor Barnes (199?-199?)

Rhythm and Lead Guitar

  • Harvey Blackwelder (????-????)

Drums

  • Jon Mark Russell (19??-197?)

Trumpet

  • Jerry Hill (1972-????)
  • Gary Barnhart (1972-????)

Musicians Unknown Positions

  • Benny Goins (????-????)
  • Jason Clark (????-????)
  • Roger Fortner (????-????)
  • Rory Rigdon (????-????)

Discography[edit]

  • 1973-Our Tribute To God And Country
  • 1975-Wanted Live
  • 1977-The Singing Americans
  • 1980-Tell the Angels
  • 1981-The Exciting Sounds of the Singing Americans
  • 1981-Hymntime
  • 1981-Gospel Favorites Vol. 2
  • 1982-Sensational Singing Americans
  • 1982-Sing Gospel Hits Volume 1
  • 1982-Sing Gospel Hits Volume 2
  • 1982-Sing Gospel Hits Volume 3
  • 1982-Sing Gospel Hits Volume 4
  • 1983-Everybody Ought to Praise His Name
  • 1984-Gospel Favorites
  • 1984-Something Old, Something New
  • 1984-Live and Alive
  • 1985-Black and White
  • 1986-Hearts of Praise, Songs of Majesty
  • 1987-Homecoming Live
  • 1988-Chartbreakers
  • 1988-Sing Out
  • 1988-We're Blessed
  • 1989-Angels on Board
  • 1989-Songs We Salute
  • 1990-Watch & Pray
  • 1990-Greatest Hits: 10th Anniversary Collection (Compilation)
  • 1991-Live & Well
  • 1991-Revival
  • 1992-On Stage
  • 1993-Live from Chicago
  • 1993-Golden Hits
  • 1993-Song of Praise
  • 1994-Sing the Old Songs
  • 1996-20 Favorites By The Singing Americans (Compilation)
  • 199?-The Devil Don’t Want Us to Have a Revival
  • 199?-Singing Americans Featuring Buddy Burton
  • 199?-Singing For America (Compilation)

On the Web[edit]

For more information on this group visit http://www.sghistory.com/index.php?n=S.Singing_Americans .