Saturday, June 26, 2021

I Was a Royal Son

Some have read this already because I got all mixed up in the order of things.

I was a Royal Son. That was our gospel quartet's name – The Royal Sons. Of course, in our naivete, we believed we were children of the King, if you know what I mean, so we considered ourselves royalty in a certain sense.

This was back around 1964 - 65 when cameras hadn't yet been invented, so I have no photos. Well it seems like they had almost not been invented compared to the proliferation in our present world and in my blog in particular. Phones were rather tethered in those days too.

We were Barry, Bob, Henry and me, John: lead, baritone, tenor and bass in that order (I think). Our pianist was Becky Lois to begin with but for some reason we switched to Harry. Possibly, Becky Lois realized our awfulness and baled out, but I can't remember.

If memory serves, we sang twice at our young peoples group and twice at another YP group.

Then I quit. I think I was miffed about them changing the key on my solo on the sly for the lead singer's sake. I also was going into a difficult final year of high school. We had a grade 13 in those days, which was thought to be equivalent of first year university in other jurisdictions. I hadn't had a very laudable academic record up until then, and I was determined to show my teachers that I was not a complete numbskull. 

The quartet replaced me with my best friend, Ron, who was a tenor. You have read correctly: the bass singer was replaced by a tenor.

Configuration 2 of the Royal Sons (with Ron) sang once at YP. I didn't make that service for some now forgotten reason, so I never heard them perform because that was their one and only gig. At least I think so. I was told that they were terrible, but they were probably no worse than when I was in the group.

I was brought in for one more try, me returning the favour and replacing Ron this time. We had yet another pianist, Vera, and Dave, replaced Henry.

We had two practices, which the pastor's wife happened to  hear. She asked us to sing again at YP, saying we now sounded more harmonious. We weren't ready yet, so we demurred.

But that was it, the end of my Royal years. Barry attended some gospel meetings near us with Franklin Walden, an evangelist from Georgia. Barry began to lead the singing in that crusade, and Walden invited him to accompany him to Georgia.

I guess it was that summer of 65, when Barry returned with Walden for tent meetings a few hours from Toronto. Bob and I went twice. And I think I went once at some other time with a few other friends.

The Royal Sons were gone, mostly forgotten, and no one mourns the loss.

Just for fun, I have found a version of my solo, When I Stand With God. I haven't heard it since I last performed it (or tried to perform it) back around 1965, but it's as I remembered it. However, I assure you that I sang it without the little falsetto trill that this singer inserts. I think I sang in a lower key than this in practice, and then they switched it to this key when we performed in public. This didn't suit my bass voice too well and was not a terribly Christian thing to do. 


A search has revealed that Franklin Walden died in 2009, but I couldn't find his acolyte, Barry. In fact, I lost complete contact with all of the others except Ron, the tenor who replaced me, the bass and vice versa. I did remain good friends with Ron for the next 20 years, but distance and different priorities eventually had their way, and we haven't seen each other for almost 25 years.

11 comments:

Shammickite said...

Perhaps Ron will read this and get in touch..... that would be truly amazing! Keep us informed, just in case.

Haddock said...

Yes, like Shammickite says, Ron may get in touch.

Tabor said...

makes me wonder how many amateur singing and band groups were there and then gone.

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

Ah, the "good old days" ... how different they seem in reflection. When did you take up the fiddle?

Marie Smith said...

I liked the up-tempo part better than the beginning. If your base voice could have done that falsetto part like in the video, it would have been a miracle, AC.

Rita said...

Fun memories!
I hope Ron gets in touch.
Sad when we lose touch with people over the years. :)

Mage said...

Before the age of TV and phones and computers, we all sang.

The Furry Gnome said...

Didn't know you were Royalty! Oh those high school years, the things we got up to.

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Vicki Lane said...

Great story! I like thinking of you in a gospel group. Somehow I didn't think Canadians went in for that sort of thing.

Jenn Jilks said...

Well, I be gobsmacked! That is a hoot! I love your self-deprecting humour. Well written, dude.