So, what is My Kind Of Gospel?

An exploration of uptempo gospel music : 1945-1965

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peacock Records - The first of many....

Click above song title to listen/download

The Peacock label out of Houston, Texas, put out numerous top quality gospel records. From 1950 until the well past the cut off point on this site, Peacock would steadily release one great record after another. While not an gospel exclusive label by any means, there were perhaps the best. I hope to post more from this label over time.

Opal Nations has kindly given his permission for me to post some of his liner notes on this site. I will be referring to his work from time to time. This is what he has written regarding The Gospelaires:

"Beginning details of the Gospelaires are sketchy at best. Liner notes to their third Peacock album (Bones in the Valley, PLP 111, 1963) tell that joint-managers Clarence Kendricks and Melvyn Pullen founded the Gospelaires in 1954 and that original members Stanley Landers, Clarence Kendricks, Percy Gowdy, Robert Lattimore (born in 1921) and Melvyn Pullen (born May 2, 1924) were drawn from various churches around the Dayton area."

"The group played around the state and quickly built an outstanding reputation leading up to their appearance on the 15th anniversary celebration for blind pianist and singer, the late Prof. Harold Boggs (who recorded for Nashboro) at his Gypsum Tabernacle in his home town of Port Clinton, Ohio on November 29, 1956. The second half of the three-day celebration was m.c.’d by singer Mary Holt, “The Angel of the Airwaves”, who enjoyed radio and T.V. exposure in Cleveland. Holt presented the Gospelaires as headliners with the Boggs Specials, Mdm L. Raibon of Toledo and The Church of God in Christ Chorus from Mansfield. After this, the group’s reputation spread beyond the New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas."

"In 1957, the Gospelaires recorded one single for Dora and Jimmie Avant in Dallas to launch their Avant label. The songs were entitled “We’re Marching Together”, a song supporting the civil rights in Little Rock, and “Some People Never Stop To Pray”. In October 1957, they were noticed by Don Robey in Houston and signed to Peacock Records. Group personnel at that point included tenor Melvin Boyd (born December 1932), manager/second tenor Melvyn Pullen from Dayton, second lead high tenor Paul Alex “Easy” Arnold (born February 7, 1932), also a Daytonian, baritone Frank L. Peoples from Blairsville, Penn., Robert “Bob” Lattimore of Shelby, North Carolina (born in 1926) who doubled singing bass and playing guitar accompaniment as well as serving as the group’s musical director, and Bob Washington, first lead tenor. Washington (born Paul R. Washington on September 22, 1928) hailed from Beckley, West Virginia and made his home base in Youngstown, Ohio. He started out singing and preaching at his foster father’s church in Youngstown. His foster father was the Rev. E.A. Austin. Paul “Easy” Arnold attended Roosevelt High and was a member of Dayton’s Mt. Olive Church pastored by Rev. McFarland. He sang in the choir and the legendary Revelators
gospel group before serving in the U.S. Navy and going with the Gospelaires. Arnold was the perfect high tenor foil to Bob Washington’s growling, preacherly, sanctified leads."

"Although the Gospelaires were wrecking churches and carving out a name for themselves, their records did not sell in impressive amounts. As Ray Funk pointed out in his two paragraph bio on the Gospelaires in the Galen Gart and Roy C. Ames book
“Duke/Peacock Records” (Big Nickel Publications, 1990), the Gospelaires did not truly ignite until 1962 with the addition of seventeen-year-old “sky high” falsetto Charles McLean form Greensboro, North Carolina."

That will tell the tale for now. If you ever get a chance to pick up a Peacock release by anyone, do so. You will not be disappointed. 

1 comment:

  1. Visit to learn more about the Gospelaires. CVK co-founder and director, Khadijah Ali, is Paul Arnold's daughter. Help her keep the memory and musical legacy of Paul Arnold and the Gospelaires alive.