10 Songs, 22 Minutes

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About The Kingsmen

Not much is known about the early days of the King's Men quintet, an old-time Southern gospel act who are not to be confused with the Portland, OR-based garage band the Kingsmen (the band whose enduring "Louie, Louie" survives today as one of the all-time frat rock classics).

The King's Men were founded as a quartet by Big Jim Hamill in 1955 and based in Ashland, NC. Two other members, Theodore J. Twiggs and Eugene R. Smith, were listed as songwriters on what turned out to be their only record of the day, "Don't Say You're Sorry," released in March 1957 to little fanfare. Shortly after this single, two of the five members were drafted into the Armed Services.

A few years later, the King's Men were together again and back in action and managed a career that eventually spanned three decades ('50s, '60s, and '70s). Recordings continued to flow, mostly gospel favorites, but the King's Men's real strength seemed to lie in their performances; they are best remembered for booming tenors and resounding baritones propelling a genuine gospel prowess. The group continued into the '70s, with new members replacing retiring King's Men along the way. ~ Bryan Thomas

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