the Southmen

After a 50-year career, the Southmen are retiring. Their last show will be Aug. 7 at First Baptist Church. 

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,

pianist.

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

limited.

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.

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