Exciting news!!! It's OFFICIAL! The Bama Boys reunion is going to happen! Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 6PM, and plan to join us for a ...night of worship and reminiscing at Kennedy Baptist Church in Kennedy, AL. And please help us spread the announcement and all update posts with your friends. We can't wait!! #StayTuned #Like #Share
It's coming . . .
Hints of a Bama Boys reunion...
Hey ya’ll! I really hope to encourage more interaction from my ‘likers’, so I thought I’d share a little story from my past. Remember, the more you ‘like’, sh...are, and comment, the more our ministry page gets in front of others. More exposure gives more opportunity to minister in new places, as the Lord wills! I hope you enjoy the story and photos below:
The Night My Ears Were Opened to Harmony
We all experience ‘aha’ moments in life. Some are more important and more impactful that others. I thought I’d share a personal ‘aha’ moment with you that forever shaped my passion for singing.
I grew up in a family with deep roots in #SouthernGospel music. I have been told that my great-grandfather Bobbitt actually taught #ShapedNote singing schools years ago, and that love for gospel music was passed down through generations. During my childhood years, my Uncle Joe (Jake) Champion and my cousins Neal Champion & Chris Champion sang in two Southern Gospel groups, The #Columbians & The Bama Boys. I would eventually join them as a member of The Bama Boys for few years, but this story takes place before my membership.
Even before my mother and I relocated to Millport, AL, we would visit often on the weekends. The highlight of those visits for me was when I was given an opportunity to travel with my uncle and cousins as they sang in churches throughout the southeast. When I moved to the South Lamar area permanently, I was a fixture on the Bama Boys’ van every weekend. I was a teen-aged boy in great need of positive encouragement and attention, and Uncle Jake, Aunt LaVerne Champion , Neal and Chris, Avon Rushing, Jimmy Thomas Janet Thomas , Mark Jones (Mark Jones - Words and Music), Chris Locke , Loretta Champion and Doug Cantrell made sure that I got plenty of it! I absolutely LOVED traveling to different churches in different towns every Friday, Saturday & Sunday night. But what I loved even more was the singing! During those years, I was introduced to the power of the gospel message delivered through a song, and it was during that time that God began to shape His calling in my life.
In addition to the message of the songs, I was captivated by the beauty and power of the four-part #harmony found in traditional Southern Gospel quartet music. No other genre of music can consistently touch the vocal talent and precision that it takes to correctly sing four-part harmony. As I travelled with the group as a 13-14 year old, I desperately wanted to join in and sing harmony parts with the guys. But alas, I could not hear the harmony. Any time that Uncle Jake, Neal or Chris would attempt to teach me how to sing the male harmony parts of tenor or baritone, when they would leave me on my own I would immediately move back to the lead part (soprano line on written music). It was extremely frustrating and I thought I would never learn how to hear and sing harmony. Then it happened.
I can’t remember the date, but I remember everything else about the ‘aha’ moment. It was late one night after a singing, and I was riding with Chris in his car. I even remember the car, a canary yellow nineteen-seventy-something Toyota Celica! ☺ We were doing what we would always do when we were riding down the road…we had a cassette tape in the deck and we were singing some good old Southern Gospel music. (If any of you are too young to know what a cassette tape is, go ask someone over the age of 35-40 and they will be able to explain in great detail!) I even remember the group and the song. The group was The McKameys , a very popular family group from Clinton, TN, and the song that was playing was one of the best songs they have ever recorded, ‘Getting Used To The Dark’. As the song played and as I was singing along beside Chris, something inside my head finally snapped (in a good way!). For no explainable reason outside of a mind-opening touch from the Lord, I started to sing a harmony part with Peg McKamey on the chorus!
I really don’t remember how I acted outwardly, but I know that I was elated on the inside because I had finally crossed over into the world of harmony-singing. I know my first attempts probably sounded pretty terrible, but from that moment forward I was able to understand and absorb the teaching of harmony that I received from Uncle Jake, Neal and Chris. I was never able to listen to the music in the same way. When most folks listen to a group sing, they hear a group of voices blended together…one noise, if you will. When I listen to a group sing, I hear each individual harmony part and I can follow by ear the detailed movement of each part, most of the time, even though I do not read music efficiently. I’m thankful for the #blessing of being able to hear the harmony that God majestically blends together. I will be forever grateful to Uncle Jake, Neal and Chris for loving me and intentionally investing in me through teaching me to sing in harmony. Because of their generous touch, I have been able to grow and share my love for harmony and Southern Gospel music with others for 30 years. And, there’s still plenty of songs to sing and harmony to learn, so I don’t plan to slow down any time soon… ☺
Now that I've entered into the world of collecting #SouthernGospel #LPRecords, I've gotten quite nostalgic lately! As a youngin', I always enjoyed seeing Big J...im Hamill and the Kingsmen Quartet live and in living color! I thought I'd pass along this video that I found on YouTube from their 1987 Mississippi Live project. '(Step) Inside The Gate' was written by Mark Jones Mark Jones - Words and Music and first recorded by The Bama Boys from Millport. I sure wish that I could luck up and find an LP record of this project! #GoodStuff
Here's one featuring the late Joe Champion on lead with Chris Champion (tenor) and Neal Champion (baritone). Musicians: Mark Jones (piano), Chris Champion (drums), Neal Champion (bass guitar). https://www.dropbox.com/s/gm…/09%20Thelovelynameofjesus.mp3…
A little Bama Boys reflection this morning. This song featured Lee Leonard on lead vocals with Chris Champion (baritone), Neal Champion (tenor) and Joe Champion (bass). Musicians: Mark Jones (piano), Chris Champion (drums), Neal Champion (bass guitar). https://www.dropbox.com/s/a4xkj3q794qwj52/GospelMusic.mp3…