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The year was 1934. Brothers Roy, Doyle and James Blackwood, along with Roy’s son R.W., formed what was to become the most beloved and respected gospel group of all time, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet.
Bill Shaw and Bill Lyles eventually joined the group and together with James and R.W. Blackwood, this quartet went on to be featured on several TV shows including The Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, the beloved American classic, Hee Haw and the prestigious Arthur Godfrey Talent Show in 1954.
A few weeks later, that same year in Clanton, Alabama, tragedy struck when two members of the group, R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles, were killed in a plane crash. After the accident, many fans and critics alike believed that the quartet would not be able to go forth. However, as fate would have it, R.W.’s youngest brother, Cecil Blackwood joined the group along with the bass singer, J.D. Sumner, silencing any doubts the public had about the quartet continuing to be a force in gospel music.
Despite the family tragedy, earlier that same month saw the birth of Cecil Blackwood’s son, Mark, who has held on to the tradition and sound that has made the Blackwood name world famous.