GOGR Music History -
Blue Ridge Quartet

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 Fagg (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 Fagg 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.


Comments:
(Comment box deleted due to spamware, Email additional comments to webmaster@grandolegospelreunion.com)
 
Name:
ROBBIE HUBER
Email:
brqmiv@yahoo.com
Date:
13 May 2005
Time:
10:56 AM

Comments

I HAD THE HONOR OF TRAVELING WITH THE BLUE RIDGE FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS.THEY WERE THE GREATEST BUNCH OF GUYS YOU WOULD EVER WANT TO MEET.ONCE YOU SAW THEM YOU WERE A FAN,THE NEXT TIME YOU SAW THEM YOU WERE A FRIEND,AND AFTER THAT YOU WERE PART OF OUR FAMILY!!!!! IF I LIVE TO BE 100 YEARS OLD,MY BLUE RIDGE YEARS FROM 1969 {WHEN I FIRST SAW THEM} UNTIL THE 1980'S (WHEN THEY RETIRED} WILL ALWAYS BE MY MOST PRECIOUS!!!!!FELL FREE TO E MAIL ME ANY TIME ABOUT THE BRQ!!!


Name:
bren
Email:
bbadams@alltel.net
Date:
06 May 2005
Time:
11:30 AM

Comments

my husband bobby sang with the quartet in 1970s he took georges place for a while .anything you could do to have a reunion,let me know.


Name:
Dianna Ink
Email:
diannagink@yahoo.com
Date:
03 May 2005
Time:
11:49 PM

Comments

I hope someone on here can help me. I have have been trying to find Donnie Seabolt for a couple of years now. My grandmother is very fond of the Blue Ridge Quartet. She tool me to see them a couple of times when I was younger. Gram is now in her 80's and I would love to have Donnie contact her by phone before, heaven forbid, she dies. She's ben in poor health and I'd love to put a smile on her face again. Please feel free to email me if you can help. diannagink@yahoo.com Thank you very much. Dianna


Name:
Vivian West
Email:
vivian.west@sealedair.com
Date:
18 Apr 2005
Time:
04:07 PM

Comments

I always loved your music. Did Ron Sproles sing with the group at one time? He sings with the Gateway Quartet now and his name sounds so familiar to me.


Name:
Bill Reaman
Email:
breaman@golden.net

Comments

What a find. I followed the Blue Ridge for many years. I still believe they were and still are the greatest Gospel Group of all time. The first group I met included Burl, Bill, Donnie, Kenny and The Mark Four. After Burl's death and them disbanding I lost contact with them. I have talked to Donnie on occasion, but would dearly love to see Bill, Fred and Kenny again. I belive I have now found the avenue that will make this possible.


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2005 Grand Ole Gospel Reunion
Last Modified: November 23, 2004
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