The Palmetto State Quartet began in 1946 with original members Jamie Dill (Piano), Woodrow Pittman (Lead), Clarence Owens (Tenor), Malone Thomason (Baritone), and Paul Burroughs (Bass). Soon after they started, the group was signed to do a thirty minute program which would air live on WFBC Radio in Greenville.
The group remained unchanged until 1952 when Jack Bagwell replaced Malone Thomason as baritone singer. The next change occurred in 1954 Jack Earl Pittman replaced his cousin Woodrow Pittman as the lead singer. Later that year Ellison Jenkins replaced Paul Burroughs as the quartet’s bass singer.
Toward the end of 1968, after going through some personnel changes, the group dropped out of site for a couple of years, though they did tour occasionally. The group returned in full force in 1971. The group went through a few more personnel changes over the next 16 years but the major blow occurred in 1987 with the death of founding member and pianist Jamie Dill. Group ownership was then taken over by Jack Earl Pittman.
In 1989, the legendary Hovie Lister joined the group as pianist and Woody Beatty joined playing the keyboard synthesizer. Beatty switched to Pianist when Lister left the group in 1992. Woody took over ownership of the group when Bagwell, Pittman, and Harold Gilley retired from the group in 1997. His son Kerry Beatty became the group owner when Woody retired in 2002.
Kerry Beatty faced a major challenge near the end of 2007 when all of the other group members decided to depart the quartet. However, Kerry was able to quickly find replacements, including his brother Bryan Beatty, and was able to carry on the 60-plus year tradition of the Palmetto State Quartet.
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