Oxford, Arkansas, population 642 – said the sign as I passed into the “city limits” of a town that . . .well, I’m not sure it would even qualify for a town at that! Oxford doesn’t even have a stop sign to claim as it’s own, so what does that make it? (Tiny, eh?) Anyway, The Kingsmen Quartet were singing at the Oxford Baptist Church. We went last year when they sang there and were delighted to go see them again in the same venue. Every year it keeps getting better and better! I don’t know if it’s possible to describe the power in which the Kingsmen sang that night – it was outstanding!
The night began by the pastor and his wife singing a duet of a few hymns melodied together, then had the congregation join them in the singing. The pastor introduced the Kingsmen and we on our way to a awesome evening!
The Kingsmen opened their concert with the classic Glory Road and went straight into Next Cloud, which Bryan announced went to number one on the Singing News (SN) charts back in 2000. Bryan introduced their next song by making mention that it was the first song picked for their Missing People project and that Dustin Sweatman (from the Mark Trammell Quartet) wrote it just for them! The audience heartily clapped the whole way through it. They did their introductions different that evening, introducing a member, then singing a song featuring that person, instead of introducing everyone at the same time. Ray was first, the song accompanying his introduction was Getcha’ To The Other Side. The crowd loved this song giving their stamp of approval by a standing ovation. Cody was introduced next. Bryan made mention that Cody has a piano solo Cd for sale for anyone who was interested, Cody just so happened to have a copy of it laying on his keyboard and he held it up for everybody to see. Bryan said, “Well, since half of you are looking at him playing instead of us singing, we’ll let him play one.” Cody played A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, and received a standing ovation. Bryan introduced Randy, who sang God Knows. After they finished the song, Bryan mentioned that God cares about both the big things and the small things in our lives, and asked, “aren’t you thankful tonight that we serve a God who not only knows, but cares?” The next song Bryan introduced by asking if they could practice it on the crowd. He said, “Truth is, someone on this stage doesn’t know all of his words. Now, I’m not going to tell you who that is, because I don’t want to embarrass him. . .but, Randy knows the words because it features him, I know my words, Huggy (Harold) knows the words, and that boy even knows when to play the piano, …. but I’m not going to tell you who doesn’t know the words to this song.” (Ray looked like he really wanted to say something, but Bryan continued.) “Now big Jim Hamel always use to give us advice about what to do when you forget the words to a song,” Bryan went on, “you simply sing ‘watermelon, watermelon, watermelon’ and no one will know the difference.” They sang Someday, and every time Ray sang his bass part ,Bryan gave him a thumbs up to assure him he sang the words right. Then Bryan was trying to teach Ray how to snap his fingers on beat in the middle of the song, but the highlight was on the second to last chorus, where Ray started to sing, “WATERMELON, WATERMELON, WATERMELON!” Everyone was rolling in laughter! I’m sure some of you have experienced the fun they have on-stage. After all the fun, Bryan introduced Harold, or among Kingsmen fans, Huggy Bear. He said that this song Huggy was going to come sing, they found out is #2 on the SN charts. – God Saw A Cross. I can’t describe the power and emotion with which they sang this song. Vocally, their dynamics were perfect, and you could tell that every one of those guys put their all into it. No wonder it received a standing ovation. This song closed the first half of the concert.
That night, Harold and Bryan were really having fun with the Cd pitch. When they finished talking about their special, they said, “and before we left Ashville we stopped over at Sam’s Club and bought some of these nice white bags with “thank you” written on them in red lettering (Bryan pulls one out of his fist like a magic trick), and if you buy our special we will give you this absolutely free with our Cd’s as our “love gift” to you. It’s really quite nice, they have multiple use, you know, you can use them as a trash can liner, a rain cap,” etc. etc. (They were just having too much fun with that one!)
I’m So Glad featuring Harold, kicked off their second set. Next, was When I Walk On The Streets Of Gold, and I was so excited when they sang Without Jesus. I’ve never seen them sing that one with this line up and it was wonderful! They nailed it! They also sang Meet Me At The Table and Justified, featuring Randy. This was the first time that I’ve seen them sing Justified live and it was awesome – Randy did such a great job! Something really neat, was how they used the theme of Justified to introduce When God Ran. Emphasizing that even though we are justified, we can still feel unworthy of forgiveness, then used the theme of When God Ran to assure everyone that no matter how far you’ve run away, you can always come back “home”. He’s All I Need followed When God Ran, which was very appropriate when you consider, yet again, the themes of both songs. They continued to sing the chorus as the pastor gave the invitation, then, they sealed the night with When I Wake Up To Sleep No More. There was not one person sitting during the entire song, everyone was on their feet clapping their hearts out! Bryan called up a young man who was sitting in the second row to come up and sing with them. On the end, Harold hit a an extremely high note (I don’t even think a soprano could compete!)
In conclusion, there is only one word I can think of – WOW! The Kingsmen really put their all into that concert. Which really shows how much there hearts are in this for the ministry. For one, Ray wasn’t feeling well that night, no one would have blamed him if he decided to stay on the bus that night, but he didn’t, he came out and sang anyway. Another thing, even though the church could hold around a 150, they didn’t have a very good turn out – yet, they sang just as passionately as they did at the Brumley Sing in front of hundreds. These guys are quality. If they come to your area any time in the future, please don’t miss the blessing of seeing them! Guys, great job! Keep it up!
P.S. The Kingsmen started a twelve day road trip that night (Thursday the 12th), I know they would appreciate your prayers for them as they will only have Monday off, and will be singing every one of the eleven nights. That’s not easy to do. Please keep them in your prayers for this trip.