Category Archives: Regions

GOGR Music History – The Speer Family

GOGR Music History –

Through the years, my writings have seemed to feature male quartets and trios, but I also have a secret love in my heart for a few select mixed groups. My favorite mixed group is the Speer Family. They were featured on the first gospel concert that I ever attended, and I fell in love with their classic sound. That night, the group consisted of Brock and Ben Speer, Jeannie Johnson, Harold Lane, and Ann Sanders. This was shortly after Jeannie Johnson had joined the group, and I remember that she was featured quite prominently that evening.

The members of Speer Family have had a great impact upon the history of gospel music. Five of them are members of the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. George Thomas Speer was a noted gospel songwriter and teacher. He married the love of his life, Lena Brock, in Athens, Alabama February 27, 1920. Lena and Tom (who will forever be known as Mom and Dad Speer both in their professional life and in my writing) shared a love of gospel music, and were raised in singing families. Dad Speer often said, “I met a singer’s daughter at a singing convention, got married in a singer’s home, and raised a singing family.” Nothing could better express the life of Mom and Dad Speer.

via GOGR Music History – The Speer Family.

GOGR Music History – The Speer Family

GOGR Music History –

The Speer Family

As the years passed by, the Speers continued to be at the top of the gospel music world.

The lovely “Speer” ladies continued to draw attention from the males that followed the group. Sue Chenault left the Speers shortly after they recorded one of their greatest hits penned by Harold Lane, “Touring That City”. Their wonderful soprano vocalist married Amos Dodge and she became a preacher’s wife. She and Reverend Amos continue their ministry many years hence. She has appeared many times at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion and was the subject of “This Is Your Life Sue Dodge” just a few years ago.

The Speers began to lean toward a more contemporary vein during the next years. Dianne Hooper replaced Sue with the family and became an extremely popular vocalist with the Speers. Many great songs were recorded during her time with the family. “God Gave the Song” was one of the “sugar sticks” for the Speers during that time. The 1974 version of the Speers presented a modern sound to their fans, but they also included the old convention songs in their programs.

Polyester suits, “cool” hairstyles, and great backing musicians brought the Speers into the mid 1970s. Their song selections continued to focus on writings by Bill Gaither, Harold Lane, and Mosie Lister.

via GOGR Music History – The Speer Family.

GOGR Music History – The Speer Family

GOGR Music History –

Speer Family

First, let me ask for your forgiveness for being tardy with this article. Other cares of this life have prevented me from keeping up in a timely manner and I thank Mr. Waller for being patient with me and I ask for your patience also.

The Speer Family went through several changes in the 1960s. However, they never disappointed their fans with the group they put on stage. For several years, Brock, Ben, and Faye Speer joined adopted Speers Ann Sanders and Charles Yates to carry on the Speer tradition. Often, Mom and Dad would join the group as their health would allow. Although many thought the Speers could never continue without Mom and Dad, the family tradition continued and the Speers never did a concert without giving their very best. Although the absence of Mom and Dad was felt, their audiences realized that the Speer Family would continue to provide them the best in gospel music whether their parents were there or not. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Dad Speer passed away September 7, 1966. One of their finest recordings was released shortly after Dad’s death called “Dad Speer’s Greatest Gospel Hits.” It featured twelve songs either written or featuring G.T. Speer. This memorial album was one of the biggest sellers in the history of the family.

via GOGR Music History – The Speer Family.

Speer Family – Time Has Made A Change

GOGR Music History –

The Speer Family

The Speer Family had become a household name among gospel music fans. They had performed on the biggest stages in gospel music and they were one of the most loved groups in gospel music. However, there are few things as certain as change, and time was making a change in the Speer Family.

Ginger Smith left the family to wed Wally Laxon who was singing first tenor with the Tennesseans Quartet. The family wasn’t very happy to have to replace their bubbly female vocalist, but they found a new treasure in Mississippi when Ann Sanders joined the Speer Family. Ann had a great career with the Speers and went on to found her own group, the Downings, after leaving the Speers.

Dad Speer was never one to complain, but as the years rolled by, he was beginning to feel the effects of many years on the road. For several years, Dad had realized that age was creeping up on him, and he slowly shifted his responsibilities to his boys. Brock had already taken over the emcee duties, and he also began to handle the quartet bookings. After an extremely busy weekend of singing, Dad admitted to his sons that he wasn’t feeling well. By the time they got him to the hospital, they realized that Dad had experienced a massive heart attack which he’d conveniently ignored for several days.

Seeing the physical trouble that her dear husband was experiencing, Mom Speer told Brock that she wouldn’t be on the bus that weekend and asked Faye to join the group for the upcoming dates. Ever the trouper, Faye arranged to have the children cared for and climbed aboard the Speer Family bus.

via Speer Family – Time Has Made A Change.

Bring Forth the SPEER

Summer 2007

Ever since I found the original Speer grave site in Adams County PA just an hour north and west of my home in Baltimore, I have enjoyed visiting. I was struck by the name of my name sake, Robert Speer (1735-1813), on the monument to Revolutionary War soldiers just inside the gate. I found the three grave stones under the hickory tree. The grave stones are aged from 1813 and hard to read. I began thinking about replacing them. Then came the idea of a Speer Gathering in about June of 2013, the bicentenary of the burials. This is how it started.

We now own the three new grave stones. Each cost about 450 dollars. I have purchased them. I did it now since the price will go up. The cost of each of the stones for engraving and installation will be about an additional 550 dollars each. Let us gather in June of 2013 and dedicate the stones. I would like to have the new stones engraved and in the ground by the summer of 2012, just to be sure.

via Bring Forth the SPEER.