A legacy that dates back to 1934, the Blackwood Brothers along with the Statesmen Quartet dominated the Gospel music market place in the 1950’s/early 1960’s. This duo would tour and do many concerts together during this era.
The original group was all Blackwoods; Roy (tenor), James (lead), RW (baritone) and Doyle (bass). James became the central figure of the Blackwood Brothers as he would spend nearly 50 years singing lead for the group. Even after retiring from the group in 1983, James would still make special appearances with the group. James would even go on to form another quartet (James Blackwood Quartet) in the early 1990’s.
Tragedy struck the Blackwood Brothers in 1954 when two members (RW Blackwood and Bill Lyles) were killed in a plane crash.
The legacy of the Blackwood Brothers continues some 80 years after their start with today’s group; Wayne Little (tenor), Michael Helwig (lead), Billy Blackwood (baritone) and Butch Owens (bass).
- One huge influence the Blackwood Brothers had on the Gospel music industry wasn’t even related to their music. They were the first group to renovate and begin touring in a bus. A replica of that bus can be seen at the Southern Gospel hall of fame and museum in Pigeon Forge TN.
- While I believe the Statesmen had greater influence on the future of Southern Gospel quartet music, the Blackwood Brothers created influence in the individuals that passed through the group. They include: Cecil Blackwood, Mark Blackwood, Randy Byrd, John Hall, Pat Hoffmaster, Calvin Newton, Tony Peace, Bill Shaw, JD Sumner, Ken Turner and Brad White.
- The Blackwood Brothers hold the record for most months spent at #1 on the Singing News chart. “Learning To Lean” spent 15 consecutive months at #1 between August 1976 and October 1977.
- Known Songs: “A Land Where Milk And Honey Flows”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “Crossing Chilly Jordan”, “Everyday Will Be Sunday”, “Fill My Cup Lord”, “Heavenly Love”, “How About Your Heart”, “How Big Is God”, “How Long Has It Been”, “I Believe In The Old Time Way”, “I Want To Be More Like Jesus”, “I Want To Know More About My Lord”, “Learning To Lean”, “Live Right Die Right”, “L-O-V-E”, “Non Stop Fight To Glory”, “Not My Will”, “Old Country Church”, “Ole Brother Noah”, “On The Jericho Road”, “Paradise Island”, “Release Me From My Sin”, “Rock A My Soul”, “Then I Met The Master” and “Wonderful Love”.
- Best Album: In Concert (1960)
Here is a YouTube clip, published by Edwin Miolen, of the group performing “Wonderful Love”. Enjoy!