HolyCoast: Filling In With The Blackwood Brothers

Monday, April 23, 2012

Filling In With The Blackwood Brothers

First of all, let me recount this story that I originally wrote in a piece about "Full Circle Moments" in 2009:
In 1973 I was looking at the Saturday newspaper and saw an ad announcing that The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was going to be singing the next day at Knott's Berry Farm in the John Wayne Theater. I had become a fan of gospel quartets thanks to the records my dad brought home from concert, but I had never seen a professional group in a live performance. The Blackwoods were a legendary name in the business and I just had to go.

I told my dad about the performance and on Sunday we headed over to Knott's. This was back in the days before you had to pay to get in (you had to pay for rides but not admission), and in my excitement to see the group I think we got to the theater ridiculously early and stood for a long time as the only ones in line.

I watched the performance and was firmly hooked on quartet music forever. At the time I was not a member of a group, though my dad was singing bass for The Watchmen. I would join The Watchmen as bass player in 1974.

Flash forward to 1988. I had been in The Watchmen for 14 years and had taken over the bass singing duties when my dad retired from the group in 1983. We were singing about 60+ dates a year around the West Coast and in March were invited to sing for the annual meeting of the Nazarene Credit Union. Here comes the full circle moment - the performance would be in the John Wayne Theater at Knott's Berry Farm.

That night I got to stand on the same stage and perform with a quartet where I had seen The Blackwoods 15 years before and I've got to tell you, it was pretty cool.
This weekend I really close the full circle because on Saturday night in Orange and Sunday afternoon in Dana Point I will be filling in as bass singer for The Blackwood Brothers Quartet. How cool is that?  You may not be familiar with their history, but for a kid who grew up idolizing the great quartets of the day it's like being asked to fill in for The Beatles.

If you're interested, the concerts are as follows:
  • Saturday, April 28, 7pm, Orange First Southern Baptist Church, 840 N. Shattuck Place, Orange, CA
  • Sunday, April 29, 3pm, South Shores Church, 32712 Crown Valley Parkway, Dana Point, CA
Admission to both is free.  I've been working all week learning songs for the program.  We'll see how much I can remember when the lights come on.

I just wish my dad could have seen this.  He'd have gotten a big kick out of it.


Eric said...

This is great, Rick. You're usually cool as a cucumber. I wonder if you'll be a little nervous to perform a whole bunch of new numbers. Anyway, I wish you well. Should they want you permanently, I could think of no better guy to have on the bus.

Rick Moore said...

Nervous? Probably. I'm having to cram a bunch of songs in a pretty short period of time. We'll see how much of it sticks this weekend.