The famed gospel group the Southmen will soon play their last show and tickets to see it are very limited.
After 50 years, one of the true Southern gospel quarters is retiring.
The Southmen have always been a true Southern gospel group.
Formed in 1970 in Gadsden, Alabama, they have stuck to their roots and
their fans have stayed with them.
Original members include Jim Hefner, manager, tenor and emcee; Buddy
Burton, lead; Larry Beck, baritone; Tim Riley, bass; and Tommy Glover,
During the 1970s and 80s, they worked exclusively with J.G. Withfield,
who was a major promoter with all-night singings across the country at
the time. Since the 1990s, the Southmen have pretty much done their
own thing, working single group events with much of their time spent
in Canada and along the West and East Coasts, concentrating on church
dates and especially the State Fair dates out west.
Hefner said they had accomplished almost everything they wished
including playing the Grand Ole Opry numerous times, the National
Quartet Convention and a trip to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in
Bakersfield, California, along with various TV programs.
Like all groups, there have been changes in personnel, but the music
and style have not changed.
They still dress alike, hair still above their ears and wear no
earrings nor tattoos.
Their final concert will be on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Guntersville
First Baptist Church. There is no admission charge, but seating is
Jim, Buddy, Larry and Tim, the original members, will be there, joined
by one of gospel music’s finest pianists, Eddie Crook, who spent five
years with the group. Also appearing will be multi-talented bass
guitarist Rick Francis, Guntersville’s own Judy Smith and the
Guntersville First Baptist Pickers.
The Southmen are the only current group with two members honored in
the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame, Tim Riley and Eddie Crook.
For more information, call 256-891-2930.