Gospel Music...Blue Ridge Quartet?
How many of you recall the Blue Ridge Quartet? If you know this group and know something about their history, can you share your stories with me? Thank you.
- ?Lv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
The Blue Ridge Qt. was formed in Dallas, Texas in 1946 as a part of the Stamps organization. Shortly thereafter, the group moved to Raleigh, NC and then Burlington, NC before moving to Spartanburg, SC. The BRQ remained in Spartanburg for the rest of their career. They were noted as having the "sweetest singing this side of Heaven".
In the early years, the personnel changed a great deal until the team of Elmo **** (lead & manager), Ed Sprouse (tenor), and Kenny Gates (baritone and pianist) got together in the early 1950's. Burl Strevel was the bass singer for a while, and was later replaced by George Younce. This core group remained together for many years. The group hired Jim Hamill as baritone and later hired Bill Crowe. Crowe remained with the group until they disbanded.
When George Younce joined forces with the Cathedral Trio, Burl Strevel returned to the BRQ. Burl remained with the group until his death. Shortly after Strevil rejoined the group, Fred Daniel replaced Ed Sprouse as the tenor. Interestingly enough, Strevel and Daniel spent many years together in the Sunshine Boys. They brought several of the Sunshine Boys' hits to the BRQ.
When Elmo **** retired in 1969, Laverne Tripp joined the group as lead singer. His songwriting skills and intense delivery brought a new appeal to the group. They experienced some of their finest moments with the personnel of Fred Daniel, Laverne Tripp, Bill Crowe, Burl Strevel, and Kenny Gates as the group adapted a more "country" sound.
A number of personnel changes occurred in the 1970's. The quartet added a band, and began to sing country music in addition to their gospel songs. Burl Strevel had a massive heart attack and died in the late 1970's. The group disbanded shortly thereafter.
They were the first gospel group to record for Decca records. They recorded for several major labels, and were the first white group on Gotham Records. The were also the first professional gospel group to perform in a Catholic church. They recorded for Sing and Skylite in the 1960's, and were a major artist for Canaan in the 1970's. The BRQ released over 100 albums. They were instrumental in forming the Gospel Singing Caravan with the Lefevres, Prophets, and Johnson Sisters. Other former members include Otis Forrest, Don Seabolt, Norman Allman, Gary Timbs, David Reece, and "Tiny" Jack Taylor.
Kenny Gates, Bill Crowe, Fred Daniel have been a fixture at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. They have been joined in the past by Ed Sprouse, George Younce, Norman Allman, and Donnie Seabolt