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Blackwood Brothers


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The Blackwood Brothers

The ‘Blackwood Brothers Quartet’ is the famous American gospel music singing group. They formed in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression when preacher Roy Blackwood moved his family back home to Mississippi. His brothers Doyle and James (only 15 at the time) already had some experience singing with Vardaman Ray and Gene Catledge. Adding Roy’s 13-year-old son R. W. Blackwood to sing baritone, the brothers began to travel and sing locally. By 1940, they were affiliated with Stamp-Baxter to sell songbooks and were appearing on 50,000-watt radio station KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa.

The quartet relocated to Memphis, TN in 1950. The move would proved to be profitable for the group as they began to appear on television station WMCT in coming years. On June 14, 1954, the Blackwood Brothers lineup of Bill Shaw-tenor, James Blackwood - lead, R.W. Blackwood - baritone, Bill Lyles - bass, and Jackie Marshall - piano, won the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts competition on national television with their rendition of Have You Talked To The Man Upstairs? The excitement was short lived however, when a fatal plane crash in Clanton, Alabama just 16 days later claimed the lives of R. W. Blackwood and bass singer Bill Lyles, along with a local friend from Clanton, Johnny Ogburn. Bill Shaw, James Blackwood and Jackie Marshall soldiered on. R.W.’s little brother Cecil took over as baritone and J. D. Sumner replaced Lyles at the bass position. In the following years, he and James Blackwood put a number of innovative ideas into play. They were the first to customize a bus for group travel and are the founders of the National Quartet Convention.


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  • Rapture5212011

    This group has another listing on which is a mirror of this page, just begins with the word "THE". If you would like to learn more about those members of the quartet who have passed away & leave a virtual memorial in their honor, visit & click on Famous Grave Search & enter their name. God bless~!

    25 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Rapture5212011

    Great music by this gospel quartet~! So much so in fact that I became a promoter for the group throughout Texas & had them in my home. It was a honor & pleasure to personally meet Cecil & Donna Blackwood, Ken Turner, James Blackwood, Jimmy Blackwood and others. Also was a promoter for "The Florida Boys" & had them in my home. If you are interested in following the Gospel Music scene & genre, this website is a MUST~ As with the original Blackwood Brothers quartet, many of these fine singers/entertainers have gone on to meet their reward. Rest in PEACE & thanks for leaving a legacy of serving the Lord Jesus Christ on Earth, even through human weaknesses which we all have. God bless~!

    25 Sep 2010 Reply

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