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Brother Dave Gardner


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David Gardner (June 11, 1926 - September 22, 1983), known as Brother Dave Gardner, was a U.S. comedian and singer.

A Tennessee native, Gardner studied drumming beginning at age 13. After a one-semester term as a Southern Baptist ministerial student at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, he began a musical career as a drummer and occasional vocalist. After a pair of ‘demo’ singles for Decca Records around 1956, he had a 1958 Top-20 hit on OJ Records with “White Silver Sands.”

It was his routines between songs, however, that brought him to the attention of rca Records artist & producer Chet Atkins. The eventual result was a comedy album with a couple of songs on it, [album]Rejoice Dear Hearts![/album] (1959), which propelled Gardner into the national eye, along with the first of several appearances on national television talk/variety shows such as The Tonight Show.

An arrest for marijuana possession in 1962 ended his visibility on television; then, it seemed, changing public tastes (i.e., ‘beatnik’-style comedy falling out of favor), coupled with Gardner’s holding onto his same performing style, resulted in a similar fading of his recording career. After 6 albums for RCA Victor Records, he made 2 for Capitol Records, and then others for lesser labels. He had another legal problem over tax-evasion charges in the 1970’s, which his son helped clear up.

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  • waderx

    I have been told many of his stories were invented by his first spouse. But only Bro. Dave could deliver. His only one session at Seminary influences many. He preached for it, not against. Hypocrisy in religion and politics was his grist. I witnessed his live act both in Biloxi, MS and in Macon, GA. The first, near the start of his career and the second, the end. He also played the drums and sang initially and did two sets without any repeats. I was in Dave glory. There will be never be another.

    21 Jul 2013 Reply