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P.Prophets


Prophets - 1963 (Ed Hill, Big Lew Garrison, Joe Moscheo, Jay Simmons and Roy McNeal)

Group Members

Tenor
James "Big Lew" Garrison (1959-1971)
Grady "Chico" Nix (1971-1973)
Bill Baize (2006-2010)

Lead
Jay Berry (1959-1960; 1961; 1962; 1964)
Roy McNeal (1963-1964; 1965; 1966; 1967-1968; 1972)
Jack Toney (1962-1963)
Charles Yates (1961)
Jim Wesson (1966)
Dean Brown (1969-1970)
Don Seabolt (1970-1971)
Carl Sanders (1972-1973)
Paul Jackson (2006-2010)

Baritone
Ed Hill (1959-1965; 1966-1973; 2006-2010)
Duane Allen (1965-1966)

Bass
Rancell D Taylor (1959-1960)
Fred Rose (1960)
Jim Boatman (1960-1962; 1968-1971)
Jay Simmons (1962-1964)
Dave Rogers (1964-1968)
Butch Sanders (1971-1973)
Mike Allen (2007-2010)

Piano
Gary Trusler (1959-1960)
"Smilin'" Joe Roper (1960-1961)
David Young (1961)
Joe Moscheo II (1962-1966)
Everett Reece (1967-1968)
Steve Payne (1968?)
Danny Churchwell (1969-1970)
Bob McCollum (1969?; 1971-1973)
Johnny Minick (2006-2008)
Eddie Crook (2008-2010)

Gary Timbs and Ralph Jarman also sang very brief stints with the Prophets.

(Special thanks to Ed Hill and Paul Jackson for fleshing out many of the details on this member list!)


Early Prophets photo

Prophets - 2007

(l-r) Ed Hill, Paul Jackson, and Bill Baize in the studio with producer, Michael Sykes (2007)

The Prophets Quartet (1959-1973; 1998-2006 (Part-time Group); 2006-2010)

History

Just a few months before the Prophets Quartet appeared on the Southern Gospel scene, Ed Hill and Jay Berry sang with the Kings Men Quartet from St. Louis, Missouri (This group is not connected to the Kingsmen Quartet based in Asheville, NC, who also began in the late 1950s). The Missouri based Kings Men Quartet sang at the 1958 National Quartet Convention and were reported to be a huge hit with the crowd. This experience convinced Hill and Berry to enter the music industry on a full time basis. The two relocated to Knoxville, TN to form the Prophets Quartet in March of 1959 with Hill singing baritone and Berry singing lead.

Other members of the initial group included James "Big Lew" Garrison (tenor), Rancell D Taylor (bass), and Gary Trusler (piano).

The group's 1959 debut album was recorded on a predominantly pop label called Coral Records. This project titled The Gospel Songs (Coral Records/CRL 57330) is relatively difficult to find and highly valued by Southern Gospel LP collectors. The Prophets also joined the Gospel Singing Caravan television program, which was produced by the LeFevres and was seen on over forty stations.

Except for a period of one year or so, Ed Hill was the group's manager and baritone for the group's entire initial run of fourteen years. Future Oak Ridge Boys lead singer Duane Allen sang baritone during 1965-1966 when Hill was off the road. "Big Lew" Garrison, always an audience favorite, was a constant member for twelve years and was an integral part of the Prophets' sound. He was replaced by Grady Nix for the group's final two years.

The other positions changed more frequently. "Smilin" Joe Roper joined the Prophets in 1960 and helped to develop the personnel and the group's sound. After Roper left, David Young came on at piano for a few months. In 1962, Joe Moscheo became the quartet's pianist and primary arranger. During Moscheo's tenure the quartet's sound was further developed. His arrangements coupled with the blending of three higher than typical voices at baritone, lead, and tenor helped to create what was billed as "the most unique sound in gospel music." Joe left the Prophets in 1966, and he was followed by several pianists including Everett Reece, Danny Churchwell, and Bob McCollum.

Jay Berry sang lead from the quartet’s beginning until late 1962, except for some time in which Charles Yates held the position. When Jay Berry left to join the Rebels Quartet, he was replaced by Jack Toney, who stayed with them for only a few months. Soon, Roy McNeal took over at lead spot and held it off and on for the next several years. During one of his times away he was replaced by Jay Berry in late 1964. Jim Wesson replaced Roy for a while in 1966. Dean Brown came on at lead and stayed for about two years. He was followed by Donnie Seabolt who also stayed around two years. Roy came back again for a short time around 1972. Carl Sanders became the lead singer until the quartet disbanded in late 1973.

At bass, following Taylor, and a after brief stint by Fred Rose, Jim Boatman, who had formerly been with the Melody Boys Quartet, joined the Prophets. His tenure was split into two terms separated by around six years. When Boatman left in late 1962 he was replaced by Jay Simmons, who came from the Harvesters Quartet. When Jay left in 1964, he was replaced by Dave Rogers who stayed for several years before being replaced by Boatman. Boatman and Rogers stayed longer and were on more recordings than any of the quartet’s other bass singers. Butch Sanders came on in 1971 as their last bass.

Despite all their changes, the group's characteristic sound and appeal were maintained as long as "Big Lew" and Ed Hill remained in the group. Even though there was considerable turnover, especially at the lead singer position, through Ed’s leadership the Prophets were able to attract excellent personnel who helped to maintain their special sound.

Hill retired the group name in 1973 with plans to go to work for the Sumar Talent Agency He temporarily filled in singing baritone for JD Sumner And The Stamps Quartet. His temporary job soon became his permanent job. To the delight of fans, J D Sumner made Hill the brunt of many of his jokes. When Sumner introduced Hill, for example, he would mention that Hill had been the "successful manager" of the Prophets. Then he would pause and say, "He successfully managed them out of business."

After the Prophets Quartet retired in 1973, the group name did not re-surface again until 1998 when a part time group in Nitro, West Virginia began using the name with Hill's permission. When Ed Hill decided to revive the historic Prophets Quartet, the part time group changed their name to Mountain State Quartet. In 2008 the Mountain State Quartet became the “New Prophets.”

By 2007 Ed Hill’s new “Prophets Quartet” was organized with Bill Baize at tenor, Paul Jackson at lead, Ed at baritone, Mike Allen at bass, and former Happy Goodmans member Johnny Minick at piano. Minick was later replaced by Eddie Crook in early 2008. The first album by the revived Prophets Quartet was released on June 12, 2008. In 2010 the quartet disbanded.

One unusual album, The Piano Artistry of Joe Moscheo II and The Prophets Quartet (Sing Records/MFLP-3004), featured six piano solos. On the album titled Love Like The Sun, lead singer Jim Wesson performed the title cut (written by a young Lari Goss) in a calypso style, which was particularly innovative for that time period. Some albums that are more typical of the Prophets Quartet's style and sound that set them apart during the 1960s are "Packin' Up" (Sing Records/MFLP-3001); "Prophets" (Sing Records MFLP3002); "Relax" (Sing Records MFLP-3003); "Vital And Vibrant" (Heartwarming Records/Benson Records/Stereo Version LPS-1872/High Fidelity Version LPHF-1873); and "Just A Rose Will Do"(QCA Records/90808).

Discography

hi-res
1959 The Gospel Songs (Coral Records/CRL-57330): Some Glad Day; Fling Wide The Gates; I'll Follow Jesus; This Little Pilgrim; You Have Everything To Gain; He Set Me Free; Mansion Over The Hilltop; I Can Call Jesus Anytime; He Watches Over Me; I'm Bound For That City; I Won't Have To Cross Jordan Alone; Jesus Holds The Keys (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Jay Berry, Ed Hill, Rancell Taylor, Gary Trusler).

hi res
1960 Glory Glory Amen! (Skylite Records/SRLP/SSLP-5985): Glory Glory Amen; What A Homecoming Day; Sinner's Plea; He'll Put A Little Heaven In Your Soul; If Jesus Hadn't Died For You; I've Found A Hiding Place; What A Day That Will Be; Pass Me Not; Sing Your Blues Away; He's Everything To Me; Nail Scars In His Hands; Trying To Get A Glimpse (Re-isued as ""The Prophets Quartet" on Power Pak Records/PG703) (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Jay Berry, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, "Smilin'" Joe Roper).

hi res
1962 Packin' Up (Sing Records/MFLP-3001): Packin' Up; Teach Me Lord To Wait; Oh When I Meet You; (There'll Always Be) The Love Of God; Workin' On A Building; Lord I'm Coming Home; It's Different Now; House Of Gold; Sweeter As The Days Go By; The Last Mile Of The Way; Do Lord; Love Like The Love Of God (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Jay Berry, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1962 The Prophets (Sing Records/MFLP-3002): That's Why I've Got To Sing; Worry Who I; Old Hymns Medley; In Heaven; So High, So Low; Sweet Hour Of Prayer; No Disappointments; When God Dips His Love; Sinner Let Me Tell You; Wait Till You See Me In My New Home; By His Word; Promise You'll Meet Me (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Jay Berry, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1963 Relax (Sing Records/MFLP-3003): Someday; If We Never Meet Again; I've Done What The Lord Said Do; Without Him; Old Time Religion; Just A Rose; If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side; He Whispers Sweet Peace; Old Fashion Meeting; He Holds My Hand; I Know I'll Not Be Lonely; When We Gather Around The Throne (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Jay Simmons, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1964 The Piano Artistry Of Joe Moscheo, II And The Prophets Quartet (Sing Records/MFLP-3004): Wonderer (Medley); Then The Answer Came; An Empty Mansion; You Can Have Him; Close To The Master; After While; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; God Of Our Fathers; Jesus Is A Way Maker; What Child Is This; No Not One; Piano Medley (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Jay Simmons, Dave Rogers sing on Close To The Master and After Awhile, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1965 Gospel Rhythm (Sing Records/MFLP-3005): Heaven Is Better Than This; He Was My Substitute; Neither Do I Condemn Thee;  Jesus Wept; My God Loves Me; Non Stop Flight To Glory; Gonna Build A Mountain; Nearer My God To Thee; House Of Prayer; He Cared That Much For Me; Live Like Jesus; There's No Other Name Like Jesus (Re-issued in 1975 as A Dozen Gospel Greats on Power Pak Records/PG704) (Lew Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Dave Rogers, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1965 I Gotta Tell It (Sing Records/MFLP-3006): You Must Make Up Your Mind, When He Reached Down His Hand, Singing Through Life, Amazing Grace, I Have A Friend, Jesus Died On Calvary, I Gotta Tell It, I’m Living For Jesus, River Of Life, Do You Know My Jesus, The Lord Accepted Me, How Great Thou Art (Re-issued in 1975 as "Singing Thru Life" on Power Pak Records/PG719 and Gusto Records/GTS-6719) (Lew Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Dave Rogers, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1965 Vital and Vibrant (Heartwarming Records/Benson Records/Stereo Version LPS-1872/High Fidelity Version LPHF-1873): Come And Dine; What A Wonderful Day; We Don't Have As Far To Go; Lord I Need You; Ain't Nobody Knows; Hide Thou Me; Come Along With Me; In The Shelter Of His Arms; Medley; Were You There; I Want To Know More; You Just Don't Know What Lonesome Is. (James "Big Lew" Garrison, Roy McNeal, Duane Allen, Dave Rogers, Joe Moscheo).

hi res
1966 Love Like The Sun (Heartwarming Records/Benson Records/Stereo Version LPS-1888/High Fidelity Version LPHF-1889): Love Like The Sun, John14:18, Welcome Home, The Way That He Loves, Each Day I Thank The Lord, The Christian’s Testimony, The Church Triumphant, At The Cross, That’s Him, There’s A Certain Kind Of Feeling’, O The Glory Did Roll, Love Him So (Lew Garrison, Jim Wesson, Ed Hill, Dave Rogers, Joe Moscheo).

hi-res
1967 A Joyful Sound (Heartwarming Records/HWM/HWS 1934): He's A Personal Savior, The Family Bible, I Know That This Is True, Marvelous Grace, Close To The Master, A House Of Love, Then The Answer Came, I Want To Do Thy Will, The Lord's Way, I've Been Born Again, Our Labors Will Be O'er, Don't Take My Cross Away (Lew Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Dave Rogers, Everett Reece).

hi res
1968 Upward And Onward (Heartwarming Records/HWM/HWS 1964): Over In The Gloryland; Time Has Made A Change; Precious Lord Keep Your Mighty Hand On Me; When I Lift Up My Head; Known Only To Him; Jesus Is His Name; Joy Of My Salvation; Remind Me; Since I Found The Lord; When I Lay My Burdens Down Someday; River Of Grace; I Must Tell Jesus (Lew Garrison, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Dave Rogers, Everett Reece).

hi res
1968 Beauty, Power and Peace (Canaan Records/CA-4642/CAS-9642): Jesus My Lord;  You Can't Buy Steal Or Borrow; No Place To Hide; I Don't Want To Live Without His Love; Ride That Glory Wagon; I'm Going Home To Jesus; My Room Of Prayer; You Know Perfectly Well; I Can't Sit Down; I'll See My Savior; Lonely Road; Give Up (Lew Garrison, Roy McNeal, Duane Allen, Dave Rogers, Joe Moscheo) (Recorded in 1965 or 1966).

hi res
1969 Sweeter As The Days Go By (QCA Records/90807): Sweeter As The Days Go By; Don't Take My Cross Away; Lord I Need You Again Today; How Great Thou Art; Sinner's Plea; Old Fashioned Meeting; In The Shelter Of His Arms; Neither Do I Condemn Thee; Last Mile Of The Way; What A Day.(Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, ????).

1969 Just A Rose Will Do (QCA Records/90808): My Labor Will Be’O'er; Teach Me Lord; The Answer Came; House Of Gold; Just One Rose; Oh When I Meet You; Hide Thou Me; I’m Living For Jesus; He’s A Personal Savior; Nearer My God To Thee (Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, ????).

hi-res
1969 If We Never Meet Again (QCA Records/90983): Payday For The Saints Of God; Unworthy; If We Never Meet Again; My Home Sweet Home; The Great Speckled Bird; I’m Going Home To Jesus; Don’t Spare Me Anything; Down From His Glory; The Next Step You Take; Tomorrow May Mean Good-Bye (Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, ????).

hi-res
1969 Victory in Jesus (QCA Records/90984): At The Cross; Let The Lower Lights Be Burning; Amazing Grace; Leaning On The Everlasting Arms; The Old Rugged Cross; Pass Me Not; Love Lifted Me; Lord, I'm Coming Home; Victory In Jesus; Hand In Hand With Jesus (Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatmen, ????).

1969 Why Should I Worry? (Sumar Records/SLP-4309): Why Should I Worry; I Know Who Holds Tomorrow; Now I Have Everything; Jesus Walked All The Way; I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary; Daddy Sang Bass; Life Is Worth Living; Jesus Is Coming Soon; When I Can Read My Title Clear; It Is No Secret (Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Steve Payne).

hi res
1969 Best Yet (BMC Records/SLP-4223): The Night Before Easter; I'm Happy Now; He's The Only One; I'll Meet You In The Morning; I've Been Born Again; Oh To Be Like Thee; It Won't Be Long; Where Will You Be?; There's A Little Pine Log Cabin; Just A Closer Walk (Lew Garrison, Dean Brown, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Danny Churchwell).

hi-res
1970 Peace In The Valley (QCA Records/0443): Family Bible; That Heavenly Home; I'm Working On A Building; Precious Memories; Over In Gloryland; I Can Tell You The Time; Peace In The Valley; Just A Little Talk With Jesus; Heaven; Do Lord (Lew Garrison, Donnie Seabolt, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, ????).

hi res
1970 Camp Meetin' Time In The Ozarks (BMC Records/SLP-4335): Ole Camp Meeting; Sheltered In The Arms Of God; Thanks To Calvary; For God So Loved; The Night Before Easter; The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference; Somebody Loves Me; I'll Meet You In The Morning; Time Has Made A Change; I'll Thank My Savior (Lew Garrison, Donnie Seabolt, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Bob McCollum).

1971 I Know (QCA Records/10339): Put Your Hand In The Hand; Going Home; I Know; Mansion Over The Hilltop; Miracles; What A Happy Day; Prayer Is The Key; Will The Circle Be Unbroken; How Beautiful Heaven Must Be; Why Should I Worry (Lew Garrison,Donnie Seabolt, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Bob McCollum).

hi res
1972 ...Again (BMC Records/SLP-4352): Redemption Draweth Nigh; Hidin' Place; I'm Going Home To Jesus; Meet Me Up In Heaven Someday; Worry, Who I; Build My Mansion; Reach Out To Jesus; What A Wonderful Day; Over The Moon; I'll Pray For You (Lew Garrison, Ed Hill, Jim Boatman, Bob McCollum, Tommy Hensley, Roy McNeal)(McNeal is not in the cover photo, but sources confirm he is the lead singer).

hi res
1972 A New Day (BMC Records/SLP-4362): A New Day; Old Time Christian; I Will Serve Thee; This Old House; Without Him; What Will You Do With The Man; Crown Him King; My Soul Shall Live On; Lighthouse; Yesterday (Grady Nix, Roy McNeal, Ed Hill, Butch Sanders, Bob McCollum, Tommy Hensley).

1973 Sing A Song! (BMC Records/SLP-4370): Sing Me A Song; Eastern Gate; Until Then; Lighthouse; Turn Your Radio On; Here's A Song For The Man; I've Gone Too Far; Unseen Hand; He Restoreth My Soul; Lord I'm Feeling Mighty Fine.(Grady Nix, Carl Sanders, Ed Hill, Butch Sanders, Bob McCollum, Tommy Hensley, Gary Scott).

hi res
1973 On The Right Track (BMC Records/SLP-4381): Roll Back River Jordan; I Like What Happened To Me; Faith; Tell Me The Story Again; Ten Thousand Years; King Jesus; Because He Lives; I Should Have Been Crucified; Bring Me Down; More About Jesus.

hi-res
2008 I'll Follow (Riverbend Media): I Can Call On Jesus Anytime; I Just Call It Home; One Thing The Father Forgets; Because They Gave; How I Want You To Know; I'll Follow; Jesus Wept; Golden Streets; Love Like The Sun; Mercy. (Bill Baize, Paul Jackson, Ed Hill, Mike Allen, Eddie Crook).
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