I just discovered something tonight that I can hardly believe. How on earth did I never know this before?! I’m a student of barbershop quartets and southern gospel like few others, but somehow I missed this one.

My favorite old time barbershop quartet is far and away the Suntones, 1961 barbershop quartet champions. They were flat-out awesome, and their stuff still is many years later. I have their Complete Works CDs 4 and 5, and sure wish I had the other three.

Back in ’03, the Suntones were doing some reunion stuff, and some of their sons got together and sang a few songs as “Sons of the Tones.” I heard it was on Youtube, so I checked it out.

Pretty sweet! They sound really good. Todd Wilson, son of baritone Harlan Wilson, sings the baritone, and the lead and tenor’s sons also sing the lead and tenor respectively. Joel T. Rutherford (not a Suntone son) fills in on bass. Todd and Joel sing with the Acoustix.

So let’s switch to Southern Gospel. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of the Gaither Vocal Band. I’ve always liked Terry Franklin, he was tenor for a few years back in the 90’s, between Jim Murray and Jonathan Pierce.

This was way back, but they did some great stuff. And Terry was really quite a good tenor. I used to have a video of GVB at a Praise Gathering from that era, it had some great stuff on it. Somehow it disappeared on me, I sure wish I knew what happened to it.

Anyway, so I was watching these Sons of the Tones vids, and I was thinking, man that lead looks like Terry Franklin. Then I noticed that it said his name WAS Terry Franklin! I thought that was too massive a coincidence to be the same Terry, so I started Googling.

I found an interview of Bill Gaither done by Todd Wilson in ’06, and sure enough, it’s one and the same. Terry Franklin is the son of Bob Franklin, lead of the Suntones! How awesome is that.

Then I found this from Joel T. Rutherford (he posted the videos on Youtube) explaining them.

Anyway, here are some of the songs from Youtube. This first one features Terry a good bit on lead (with some great high notes!), Without a Song.

Here they are doing one of my favorite Suntones tunes, Show Me Where the Good Times Are:

Here’s a couple from the GVB when Terry was with them, these were from the video I used to have. Back when they were all mullet boys, check out the hair.  And Michael English in flowing pants and Mark Lowry in his prisoner suit!

This is Little is Much, with Terry doing the tenor lead.

Here’s a great one, Satisfied. In spite of a brief trademark howl from Mike English, it’s still great.