Part 2 of 3 parts. Click here for Part 1.

“Best kept secret” is a phrase that’s overused a lot, usually without merit (it was even used on AHQ once!), but in the case of the King’s Heralds it’s true. The southern gospel world has never heard of them. They travel extensively across the US, but do mostly church concerts and many of those are very small. They’ve also done a lot of international travel. The quartet has been in existance for over 70 years with astoundingly little turnover.

Their music is more “musical” than your average SG stuff, not so much run-and-gun and whoop-and-holler, a little more finesse and sophistication. Less emphasis on over-emotion (at the expense of musicality) and more focus on musical integrity.

They have a pretty big following in Mennonite/conservative circles, probably largely due to their high-quality traditional quartet style of music. And they’ve done a ton of a cappella stuff, that’s why I’m a rabid follower.

One of my favorite lead singers, Jerry Patton, sang with them for over 35 years. My favorite configuration was Jerry on lead, Jack Veazey on baritone, Don Scroggs on tenor, and Jim Ayers on bass. All unbelievably nice and friendly people. This specific group was together for a long time, near or around 15 years if I remember correctly. Jack retired (after some odd 30 years!), then a few years ago Jerry did too. This whole Jeff business was the first that I heard Jim Ayers was gone.

They did some fantastic a cappella stuff over the years. The inimitable, unforgettable “It’s Spiritual” album in 1974 (Jerry and Jack were on that album) was all a cappella, all spirituals, and all Wayne Hooper arrangements. Wayne sang baritone for the Heralds in the ’50s, I believe, but continued to arrange for the group ever since then. AHQ’s “Soul’s Been Anchored,” “Keep in the Middle of the Road,” (both in Purpose) “Climbin’ up the Mountain,” and “Swing Down Chariot” of course came from this album. “The Lord is Coming, Are You Ready” (on Lookin’ Up) is also a Wayne Hooper composition.

Part 3