In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The Ramblers won the International Gold Medal in Seattle in 1983 after several years of competing. In 1975, Stage Door Four baritone Dennis Malone's company transferred him to California although he wanted to continue singing in a Dallas quartet . That left two other members of the disbanded Stage Door Four, tenor Keith Houts, and super lead, Jim Law looking for a bass. One night in late 1975, 6'5" Earl Hagn appeared at a Vocal Majority rehearsal. With very obvious 6'3' bass vocal chords, Earl was approached by many three man quartets. As luck would have it, Earl agreed to audition for a quartet whose bari was in California and might not return. Lead Jim Law decided to retire from his law practice and moved to New Mexico and they had to step down from the competition. Losing a lead singer would kill almost any quartet, but not the Ramblers. This was just about the time the Dealer's Choice were breaking up and lead Bill Thornton (also the Rambler's coach) was looking for another quartet. Mter passing the audition, they picked up where they left off Their championship year included several special events. In addition to attending the Int'l Mid-Winter convention (that year in Hawaii - nice timing, guys) they also toured Europe. In 1984 they made an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show.
Group members: Keith Houts, Brian Beck, Dennis Malone, Earl Hagn
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Review: Formed in 1975, the Side Street Ramblers went through an epic journey to winning the SPEBSQSA Quartet Gold in 1983, having to replace their lead singer three times and such hurdles as a case of the flu that turned their bass into a tenor. But Keith Houts, tenor, Brian Beck, lead, Dennis Malone, baritone, and Earl Hagn, bass, were nothing if not focused and persistent, as the many costume changes in the colorful liner notes show. With the trophy in hand, the group went on to perform in 34 states and 12 foreign countries and become one of the best-loved barbershop groups of all time. "Encore" is a 2-CD set, which includes 30 great SSR classics. The guys are equally adept at cracking us up, tugging on our heartstrings or knocking us back in our seats with a ringing barbershop chord. Hard to pick favorites among the 30, as each is a gem, but here goes: "Only Yesterday," "Love to Meet That Old Sweetheart," "My Blue Heaven," "I Wonder What's Become of Sally," "The Way We Were," "Hello Broadway," "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," "Short People," "1927 Kansas City," "Smile Medley," "Proud to Be an American," "Bye Bye, Blackbird" and "All of Me." Now, that's entertainment. Encore!