...Gospel Music Innovator

Most Southern Gospel fans would agree that Hovie Lister had the greatest impact and
influence on Gospel quartet music than any one else during the 20th Century.

He was in demand by the greatest quartets of his time, from the Homeland Harmony
Quartet and the LeFevres of Atlanta and the Rangers Quartet of Charlotte.

His greatest fame, however, came in 1948 as the organizer, founder, manager, master
of ceremonies and pianist of the legendary Statesmen Quartet of Atlanta, Georgia. He
and the quartet were pacesetters for all groups during the 1940s and beyond. They
were a catalyst of the sounds, styles, finesse and presentation and a standard for
everyone else. His style, anything but staid and solemn, fused jazz, soul and ragtime
with the more familiar forms of Gospel music. What he invented paved the way for all
genres of Christian music for decades to come.

Born September 17, 1926, in Greenville, South Carolina, Hovie began his musical training at the age of 6, eventually
becoming the church pianist by the time he was 10. At 14, he began playing piano for the Lister Brothers which
featured his father and three of his uncles, and at the same age he often toured with Evangelist Mordecai Ham (Billy
Graham was converted during one of Ham's revivals in Charlotte). Throughout his teenage years, he received
training by the local Gospel music singing schools and also attended the Stamps-Baxter Music School Normal in
Dallas, Texas.

The explosion of Southern Gospel quartet music across the nation in the 1950s and 1960s hinged largely on this
man's unusual personality and talent. No Gospel pianist was better known or more enjoyed by audiences throughout
the United States and Canada.

    My Admiration
    Our two paths crossed like two ships on
    the sea at night.

    After the Stamps-Bater School of Music
    Normal in Chattanooga during 1945, I
    remained in Tennessee awaiting my call
    for military service and continuing my
    piano, music theory, rudiment an
    harmony studies there.

    On a Saturday night church program
    conducted by Rev. V. P. Ellis (read my I
    REMEMBER eColumn about the man
    many called Vep), I first saw Hovie
    Lister. He came to town as pianist for
    the popular Sand Mountain Quartet. He
    was already quite popular, and I could
    see why when he launched into a solo.

    As a young pianist, I was all eyes and ears and I experienced
    every move of the man who would become a true music legend.
    He was so skillful, but even more, he had a great ability to
    connect with audiences. That scene is forever implanted in my

    I left Chattanooga a few weeks later, and after passing my
    physical, I was inducted into Uncle Sam's army. I lost track of him
    during the next two years, but heard bits and pieces of his
    journey as he played for several well-known groups before
    putting together the Statesmen Quartet.

    When I joined the Stamps-Ozark Quartet after my honorable
    discharge from the service, I became acquainted with him. Our
    group, based in Wichita Falls, Texas, was often included on tours
    through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas tours with the Statesmen
    and Blackwood Brothers.

Talk about tall cotton for a farm boy from Person County, North Carolina!

Our backstage visits were usually brief, but everything about him inspired me to become better. He had such an
array of gifts, abilities and the touch of the Lord on his life, and he used every ounce of his talents to get his
message and music across to the people who came to hear his group perform.

Spreading the Gospel Through Music
I was always so impressed with how good of a singer he was. Along with many others, I considered him one of the
best singers in the Statesmen Quartet. It was evident to everyone that he loved singing with his whole heart.

He was a great speaker too. He would have made a
great evangelist. In a very real way, he was, but he chose
to speak through his music, rather than as a pastor or

Rev. Vep Ellis often said, "I want to be known and
remembered as a preacher who sang, not a singer who
preached." Hovie seemed content to be a preacher who

Regardless, he is one of the most unforgettable people I
ever met, and one of the greatest ambassadors for
Gospel Music.

Who can forget the thrilling, soaring sound of the group
singing "Oh What a Savior," "Faith Unlocks the Door" or
"There's Room at the Cross"?

The Statesmen's hits spanned many decades, signing first with Capitol Records in 1949, then with in 1954 RCA
Victor before launching their own Skylite label with the Blackwood Brothers. They became the first Southern Gospel
quartet to have a nationally syndicated TV program, Singing Time in Dixie, sponsored by Nabisco.

Their stylings were featured on the soundtrack for the 1955 motion picture,
A Man Called Peter, and the 1957 film,
God Is My Partner.

Hovie remained the voice of the Statesmen Quartet into the 2000s, as well as performing with the Masters V Quartet,
a group he founded in 1980 with J.D. Sumner, Rosie Rozell, James Blackwood and Jack Hess!

The Gospel Music Hall of Fame member (inducted in 1984) died on December 27, 2001, at the age of 75, and is
buried in Decatur, Georgia. Three weeks before his death, battling the final stages of cancer, he completed one final
album aptly titled from Albert E. Brumley's classic song:

    If we never meet again this side of Heaven
    As we struggle through this world and its strife
    There's another meeting place somewhere in Heaven
    By the side of the river of life

Many have worn the title "Mr. Gospel Music," but in my heart, none are closer to the top of the list or more deserving
than the man who led the Statesmen Quartet...Hovie Lister!
Read the informative
and revealing
Gospel News
written by
John Scheideman:
Gospel 101.
MyBestYears.com I REMEMBER eColumnist Henry Slaughter has
captivated countless audiences around the globe with his award-winning
keyboard artistry.

During the past six decades he has been associated with some of the top
Christian groups:
  • Stamps-Ozark Quartet
  • Weatherfords
  • Rex Humbard
  • Imperials
  • Bill and Gloria Gaither

But his story is more than national awards and international recognition, and
his well-received autobiography,
In Search of the Pearl of Great Price, first
published in 1980, is the personal account of Henry’s down-home North
Carolina roots, his tragedies, returning to “zero” again and again. It is a story
of music born in a bittersweet mix of life’s valleys and mountaintops.

The book has not been widely available for several years, so we asked Henry
to see if he could find some copies of his autobiography to offer in response
to requests.

This is the book of which
the legendary songwriter Bill Gaither, in his
Foreword wrote, “The question I am asked more than any other is, ‘How can I
get into gospel music as a career?’ Henry’s life is a good example of how one
young lad from the Carolinas pursued that goal. He simply developed his
skills and then waited as the Lord opened doors. His life is a perfect example
of a person letting the Lord open and shut doors…I believe this book will help
show how one pilgrim pursuing a Christian music career has tried to follow
God’s leading through the door-opening-and-closing process.”

THANKS, I THINK I’LL PLAY ONE features 18 incredible songs by the eight-
time Dove Award-winning instrumentalist, including:
  • "The Longer I Serve Him"
  • "Greater Is He"
  • "Forever Is a Long, Long Time"
  • "What a Precious Friend Is He"
  • "Gentle Shepherd"
  • "Thanks to Calvary"

WE’VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH is a double-album on one CD by one of
America’s favorite duets. Featuring 20 songs, including:
  • "We’ve Come This Far by Faith"
  • "Oh, How I Love Those Old Songs"
  • "More Precious Than Silver or Gold"
  • "Let’s Just Praise the Lord"
  • "Written in Red"

Henry Slaughter's GREAT HYMNS OF OUR TIME Double Album on one
CD features 21 Majestic Instrumental Favorites from the Southern Gospel
Music Hall of Famer, including:
  • "How Great Thou Art"
  • "In My Heart Rings a Melody"
  • "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
  • "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder"

Henry and Hazel Slaughter's Tribute - To God Be the Glory CD
In 1973 Henry & Hazel Slaughter celebrated 25 years together with this
landmark collection of audience and radio favorites, including:
  • "My Tribute"
  • "Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul"
  • "I Should Have Been Crucified"
  • and seven more classic treasures!

Slaughter Writes - Imperials Sing CD
Jack Hess, Sherrill Nielsen, Armond Morales Gary McSpadden and Henry
Slaughter perform Henry's best-known songs, including:
"What a Precious Friend Is He"
"I'm Gonna Move Up to Heaven"
"Then the Answer Came"
and 9 more timeless classics featuring the priceless harmonies of the original
Order Code
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Henry & Hazel Slaughter's WE'VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH Double-Album CD
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Henry Slaughter's GREAT HYMNS OF OUR TIME Double Album CD
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Henry and Hazel Slaughter's TRIBUTE-TO GOD BE THE GLORY CD
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Henry Slaughter Book and 5 CDs Combo
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Exclusively yours from MyBestYears.com...timeless treasures from Henry Slaughter,
Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame member and five-time winner
of the Gospel Music Association's prestigious Dove Award as Best Gospel Instrumentalist!
Henry Slaughter's autobiography,
now available in paperback and Kindle!
Henry & Hazel Slaughter, featured on these
Gaither Homecoming Series DVDs!
Slaughter Writes...Imperials Sing CD
Order Code
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For a limited time, get 6 Henry and Hazel Slaughter classics:
  • Henry's autobiography, In Search of the Pearl of Great Price, with
    Foreword by Bill Gaither
  • Henry's instrumental CD, Thanks, I Think I'll Play One
  • Henry and Hazel's double-album CD, We've Come This Far by Faith
  • Henry and Hazel's CD, Tribute - To God Be the Glory
  • The 1965 collection, Slaughter Writes - Imperials Sing CD
  • Henry's double-album CD, Great Hymns of Our Time
Order Henry Slaughter’s life story and all 5 memorable CDs for
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