Is there a Jubilee in the sky…
since they all went to Heaven? I was looking for something else and came across videos of The Speer family. Oh what singing, oh what shouting, when they all got together in heaven, there is no doubt.
One of the things I remember with the warmest emotions was the pleasure that Mama got from gospel music. There were 8×10 glossy pictures of The LeFevere family and others hanging on her wall. Many times when I would go up to their house she would have the tv on and there would be the best music I ever heard in my life coming from that black and white screen. It almost seemed like something that she and I shared all alone as I would be the only other one there. I remember Happy Goodman and Sister Vestal, The Speer Family, the Blackwood Brothers, the LeFeveres, the Statesman Quartet, the Cathederals. Oh, and the list goes on and on and on. What struck me most about all these singing groups was that they were genuine and seemed to mean every word they sang; and their religion burst forth in the joy derived from their singing. Their songs were almost always upbeat and joyful. I don’t think it ever really mattered to them that there was an audience physically present; they were living out what they felt.
I know it must be confusing when I remember to Mama and Mother. Mama is what all the grandchildren called our grandmother, Betty DRUE Peebles. I still call her Mama. Gran and his friends ‘made music’ as we used to say, but Mama’s music was the old-fashioned gospel. I went to church with her a few times when I was little. We walked to the Nazarene Church which was the closest church when you were walking. I remember the ladies all wore hats and if I remember correctly they also wore gloves, or maybe they just wore gloves at Easter. The hats always seemed to have some sort of netting that came down over the eyes when pulled down. I seem to recall that the netting was pulled down at funerals.
Mama and Mother’s favorite group was the Singing Speer Family. The Speer family lived in Jasper, Walker County, Alabama. The group started as Mom and Pop Speer, then the daughters and sons were added. As family was added the group grew to add those as well. Pop Speer, Tom, was a singing music teacher. He taught music by teaching his students and children to ‘note sing.’ It was fascinating to me to hear four of the children sing a song by ‘notes.’ Anyway, a video for your enjoyment, and one that brings Mama back to life for me, follows. My favorite Speeer was Brock, but Mother’s favorite was Ben. The second video features Ben Speer.