Larry Beck

Gospel Baritone Vocals The Southmen

Born: Glencoe, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Take possibly the best quartet in Southern Gospel Music today, mix in some creative changes, and you get a great story to read about. There are several changes happening with Gold City, but for now let’s just discuss what’s happening with owner and bass singer, Tim Riley. Tim is an exciting story all by himself. Arguably the best bass singer in SGM today, his career has spanned over 35 years of professional singing.

Tim actually started sing with the Future Farmers of America Quartet in high school. Wouldn’t you like to hear some of that singing? He went on to sing with the Dixie Echoes in 1966. He was with them about a month when he was called to serve his country in Viet Nam, where he served as a medic for thirteen months. He then came home and finished out his tour of duty at Fort McClellan in Anniston, AL. In 1970, he returned to the Dixie Echoes until June 10, 1973. In 1974 Tim, along with friends Jack Toney, Larry Beck, and Jim Hefner, formed The Southmen. This had to be one terrific sounding group. Tim sang with them until 1979, and then in July of 1980 he joined Gold City. Once he joined Gold City, he stayed there..........



In 1974, a new quartet came on the scene that made gospel fans everywhere stand up and take notice. From Gadsden, Alabama they were called The Southmen.

Or ganized with Jim Hefner, Tim Riley, Larry Beck, Jack Toney, and Tommy Glover, they truly were an overnight success story. Here you had 4 singers

and a piano player dressed alike and singing that old traditional southern gospel style music. From their first song until their last - you knew you were seeing and hearing pure southern gospel music.

They would bless and touch your heart, yet they would entertain you with their extreme wit and funny stories. In fact, the late J. G. Whitfield - the “ole” Gospel Man, s

aid they were the most entertaining group on the road during that era.

They worked all the big concerts and became a part of almost all the J. G. Whitfield concerts; signed a recording contract with Calvary Records and a booking agreement with Nashville Gospel Talent Agency. They continued until the early 80’s at which time they decided to go their separate ways. Tim, of course, went on to manage and own Gold City Quartet. Gold City would become a tremendous success winning just about every award in gospel music. Fans were saddened to see The Southmen go and promoters were disappointed because the Southmen were a powerful drawing card.

Fast forward to 2005 - Tim Riley decided it was time for him to retire from Gold City. Well, as it turned out, Jim and Larry were back in the area, so they decided to get together for a meal and fellowship. They invited two friends over - one was a lead signer and one a piano player. Singing around the piano, th

ey discovered it was fun, so they decided they would sing at The Southmen Reunion which was coming up soon.

There was an unbelievable response when they were introduced. Thus, the Southmen were indeed back, but unlike before, it was agreed by all the guys that it would be on a very limited basis. They agreed to do one weekend per month and a few other select dates per year.

Can we expect more dates in the future? Hefner says a flat “no”. He further commented that the group is having fun and can select the dates at present. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same - 4 singers and a piano.

In early 2010, Tim Riley rejoined Gold City and was replaced by Buddy Poe at the bass position, plus legendary keyboard man, Eddie Crook, joined the group and also serves as Music Manager. Jim Hefner, who manages the group, says he is amazed at the response they receive and that they turn down more dates than they book. Hefner says we are having the time of our lives. They are drawing huge crowds. By the way, they still dress alike, they still sing

nothing but old style southern gospel music, and yes, they are still very entertaining. Don’t miss them when they come to your area.




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