Charlie---Hovie
Left to right: Charles (Charlie) Waller and Hovie Lister.

When I began to write “The Gospel Music Corner” I said that not only would the feature be about groups and artists but also about folks who had made an impact on the gospel music industry.

This week’s feature is without question about one person who has impacted the gospel music industry nationwide, as well as the upstate, as much if not more than any other person. This person is Charles (Charlie) Waller, “The Grand Ole Gospel Man.” Charlie is one of the more colorful people in Southern Gospel Music. He loves traditional Southern Gospel Music and works tirelessly to promote and preserve it Charlie was born in 1948 (a very good year) in Waynesboro, Mississippi.

The twenty-eighth Grand Ole Gospel Reunion will be in Greenville this year. The date for this year’s reunion is August 13th through the 15st.  Charlie’s background is well-rounded in the gospel music field. He began as a DJ in New Orleans and while there promoted his first concert in 1971. He formed the Southern Gospel Music Association of Georgia in the late 70’s.

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calvinnewtonThis week’s article is somewhat unusual in that I am writing about someone who sang gospel music but along the way made some mistakes and had to pay for his mistakes and is currently back singing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This person is Calvin Newton.

His music career begins, as so many folks do, by singing with his family. Calvin’s father was a Church of God minister and had high hopes for his son to follow in his footsteps but Calvin had other ideas. Newton said that he had seen the hardships his father had gone through as a minister and he did not want to face those same hardships. While singing with his family Calvin had been a part of a radio broadcast on WEBQ out of Harrisburg, Illinois, so he decided that maybe he could be a gospel singer.

His father wanted him to attend Lee College so he did for a while and this is where his singing career got a jump-start. Newton stated that he was singing in a chapel program and was heard by the Dean of Music. He was invited to sing in the college quartet. Next he formed a group called the Kingsmen Four, then came the big time and the job of singing Tenor for a group called the Melody Masters. Along with Calvin the other members were Jake Hess, James “Big Chief” Weatherington, Alvin Tuddle and Wally Varner.

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Chuck-Wagon-Gang_Page-11

The Chuck Wagon Gang, this week’s feature group,  began in the 30’s and traveled all over the country and recorded for over 40 years with Columbia Records. They sold more than 38 million records – a record, which many of the secular artists have not attained. They appeared in Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Grand Ole Opry and the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. They are Gospel Music Hall of Fame members and are included in the Smithsonian Institution’s classic American recordings. The group left the road after the death of Roy Carter in 1997.

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Music-Hester-Charles_Page-11

When I began to write “The Gospel Music Corner” I said that not only would the feature be about groups and artist but also about folks who had made an impact on the gospel music industry. This week’s feature is without question about one person who has impacted the gospel music industry nationwide, as well as the upstate, as much if not more than any other person. This person is Charles (Charlie) Waller, “The Grand Ole Gospel Man.” Charlie is one of the more colorful people in Southern Gospel Music. He loves traditional Southern Gospel Music and works tirelessly to promote and preserve it. Charlie was born in 1948 (a very good year) in Waynesboro Mississippi. Today he divides his time between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Georgia.

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johnny-mann_Page-11I wrote about this artist a few  years ago and last week he left this world for a far better one, so I thought it would be good to take a look back at a friend and fellow artist.

His name is Johnny Mann. Johnny was born in Maryland and spent his childhood there. His mother raised him and his siblings on money received from teaching music, so one would have to believe that Johnny would at some point follow the path of music set by his mother, and follow he did. He learned music as a child and carried that over to his military days by playing in the Air Force Band. This was not just any band but was commissioned to play at special events around the country.

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Derrell-StewartA few years ago I had the opportunity to talk with several of the Southern Gospel Music legends at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. This week’s feature is one of the true legends. He is Derrell Stewart, one of the main stays of The Florida Boys before they retired and Charlie Waller began to carry on the group.

Darrell was born in Brunswick Georgia. Derrell began to play piano at five years of age and continued to take lessons all through school. He stated that his introduction to Southern Gospel Music was through the all-day singings and other church related musical events. One of his piano teachers was James Walbert and according to Derrell he was one of the best quartet style piano teachers in the business. If you have ever been to a concert of The Florida Boys you know that Derrell learned his piano lessons well and, although Derrell is very modest in talking about himself as a pianist, he would have to be numbered among the best in the business. Some of his heroes were Hovie Lister and Wally Varner. They too are know for not only their ability to play but also for their stage presence.

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Charlie-Hovie_Page-10

When I began to write “The Gospel Music Corner” I said that not only would the feature be about groups and artists but also about folks who had made an impact on the gospel music industry.

This week’s feature is without question about one person who has impacted the gospel music industry nationwide, as well as the upstate, as much if not more than any other person. This person is Charles (Charlie) Waller, “The Grand Ole Gospel Man.” Charlie is one of the more colorful people in Southern Gospel Music. He loves traditional Southern Gospel Music and works tirelessly to promote and preserve it. Charlie was born in 1948 (a very good year) in Waynesboro Mississippi. Today he divides his time between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Georgia.

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Booths-Brothers

This week’s article is about a group of young men from Brandon, Florida, called The Booth Brothers.

As I said these men are young but the story goes back a lot further than these young men do. It all started with their dad, Ron Booth, and he was a long way from Florida when he got his start in gospel music.

Ron was born in West Virginia and moved to Detroit when he was thirteen years old and this is where the singing began. Ron had a brother named Charles and they began singing together. Soon after these two began to sing three other brothers joined the group and this was the beginning of the Booth Brothers. All this happened along about 1957.

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calvinnewtonThis week’s article is somewhat unusual in that I am writing about someone who sang gospel music but along the way made some mistakes and had to pay for his mistakes and is currently back singing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This person is Calvin Newton.

His music career begins, as so many folks do, by singing with his family. Calvin’s father was a Church of God minister and had high hopes for his son to follow in his footsteps but Calvin had other ideas. Newton said that he had seen the hardships his father had gone through as a minister and he did not want to face those same hardships. While singing with his family Calvin had been a part of a radio broadcast on WEBQ out of Harrisburg, Illinois, so he decided that maybe he could be a gospel singer. His father wanted him to attend Lee College so he did for a while and this is where his singing career got a jump-start.

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Charlie-Hovie---2013

This week I am featuring certainly one of the true legends in Southern Gospel Music and although he passed away several years ago his accomplishments continue to affect our music. He is none other than Hovie Lister, a native of Greenville.

I learned last week that retired Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown, Senator Tom Corbin and Councilman Joe Dill have been able to have a bridge named after Hovie to serve as a memorial to a native of the up-country. The location of this bridge is on highway 25 where the Highway 25 by-pass splits with Highway 25. This dedication is scheduled for Sunday, 17 Feb. at 2 p.m. at Reedy River Baptist Church with Charles Waller Master of Ceremonies.

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Donnie-Sumner

This week’s featured artist is Donnie Sumner. He was raised the son of a minister and is no newcomer to the world of Gospel Music. Since childhood his favorite form of entertainment has been Gospel Music with styles ranging from "Foot-stompin' - hand-clappin' revival tunes" to what has become known in today's market as contemporary sacred music. Having devoted over forty years of his own life to the world of music, Donnie has carried on the tradition of others in his family who have also made their mark in this industry.

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Billy-Rainey

This week’s feature is about a person who has been involved in Southern Gospel Music for over 35 years, mostly in television.  His name is Billy Rainey. I featured Billy a few years ago and was thinking about him this week so decided to pay tribute to his dedication to Southern Gospel Music. Billy is from the upcountry and working with WGGS-TV in 1975 and continued until his retirement a few years ago.. He was the host of “Down Home Gospel” which airs each Saturday night. Now for a look at this person and his mark on Southern Gospel Music.

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When I began to write “The Gospel Music Corner,” I said that not only would the feature be about groups and artists but also about folks who had made an impact on the gospel music industry. This week’s feature is without question about one person who has impacted the gospel music industry nationwide, as well as the upstate, as much if not more than any other person.

This person is Charles (Charlie) Waller, “The Grand Ole Gospel Man.” Charlie is one of the more colorful people in Southern Gospel Music. He loves traditional Southern Gospel Music and works tirelessly to promote and preserve it. Charlie was born in 1948 (a very good year) in Waynesboro, Mississippi. Today he divides his time between Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Georgia.

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Janet-Paschal

This week’s article is about a very talented lady, Janet Paschal. Janet recalls flipping through one of her old diaries her mother found in the attic. “Page after page said, ‘Nothing happened today,’ ‘Nothing happened today,’” she says.

As she got older, things began to happen. As they did, she recorded them in her journal. Grammy and Dove award nominations as well as appearances with Billy Graham and President Bush. Touring with Bill and Gloria Gaither. Those journal entries have helped her gain perspective on life, they’ve become words for songs, and now they are the basis for her first book, “The Good Road.”

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squireparsonsThis week I am featuring one of the true gentlemen in Southern Gospel Music. This artist is none other than Squire Parsons. Squire is from a little town in West Virginia called Newton, which is about fifty miles from Charleston. He stated that his farther was active in the music program of his local church and also was part of a local quartet. Other members of Squire’s family were also active in music in one way or the other in the different churches located in the area.

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2012-GOGR

Well, it is that time of year again when I would like to remind everyone about the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion (this year will be the 25 year)which has been “a gospel music family gathering since 1988” and will again to be in Greenville this year. This year’s event will be held at The Hyatt Hotel. There seems to be some confusion about this year’s event since all the activities are at the Hyatt. If you are local and want to attend only the concerts or other events that occur during the day you can do so without staying at the hotel. The Thursday night concert will be dinner and a concert at a cost of $67. Friday and Saturday night concerts will be the same venue as in the past at a cost of $27 each night.

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