The last recordings, of a true star of the Grand Ole Opry, singing his hits and favorite songs, live on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Born July 19, 1937 in Winston Salem, North Carolina, George Hamilton IV was known as the International Ambassador of Country Music, as he shared his songs with fans around the world. He was the first American Country Singer to appear in Russia and Czechoslovakia. The first to have his own British TV series on the BBC. He performed at the first “International Festival of Country Music in Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Germany, Paris, and Vienna, but even with all of that, George always seemed to be just as happy singing for the congregation of a small church in the country as he was to a full house at the Grand Ole Opry. His hit records were on the pop, country, folk and gospel charts, giving him a broad appeal to people of all ages, with many different tastes in music. It began with the pop hit A Rose and A Baby Ruth in 1956. Then his country career jumped into high gear with the No. 1 record Abilene in 1963. Other major recordings included “Early Morning Rain”, “Truck Driving Man” and “Break My Mind”. When George moved to Nashville, Tennessee, Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Victor and he joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. During his busy career he was a frequent soloist with the Dr. Billy Graham’s Crusades. Along the way George always took time to encourage other artists in their passion to share the music. Such was the case with The Captain’s Crew. George loved the Outer Banks and when he played there and around his home states, he always invited The Captain’s Crew to join him. Not only did the band back George on his songs, but he made sure there was time for them to share their music with his fans, friends and family. George Hamilton IV and The Captain’s Crew played and sang together at Merle Fest, Singing on the Mountain, the Cowboy Church and Midnight Jamboree in the Troubadour Theatre in Nashville Tennessee, as well as many other venues and churches across the state. 2007 saw George and the Crew release of the still popular CD “Tenderly Calling”, on Lamon Records, a collection of hymns written by Fanny Crosby. It was and exciting moment when George and the Crew appeared on a TV special about George’s life, broadcast on both commercial and public TV across the country. It was during the live taping of this program that the songs on this album were recorded. Four of the songs were included in the show and the remaining six were put away with the intention of one day producing a CD. Unfortunately, before the project could be completed on September 17, 2014, God called his servant, George Hamilton IV, home. Recently those original tracks were remixed with overdubs from instrumentalist David Johnson and mastered at Crossroads Studio in Arden North Carolina. These may very well be some of the last recordings from George Hamilton IV. So, for his thousands of fans around the world, it is with great pride we share with you today “George Hamilton IV, Live in the Moment, with the Captain’s Crew
A collection of songs from Outer Banks songwriter Ken Mann with his friends and family, which includes such favorites as "My Heart Will Always Be in Carolina", the theme song from the TV show by the same title and other artist recordings of his songs.
This album of songs was written or co written by Ken Mann, with his friends and family. Co writers include, Billy Edd Wheeler (Coward of the County) Paul Craft (Brother Jukebox) Jim Kelly (The Story of Job) and Ken's wife Paula. The different tracks are by the various artist who originally recorded them. They come from the albums "Songs and Legends of the Outer Banks" by Billy Edd Wheeler, Paula Craft, Ken Mann and Chet Atkins; "The Captain's Crew" and "Shipwrecked on Jesus" by The Captain's Crew; "Here am I Lord" with Jim Kelly and "Original Gospel" by Undivided. The songs are a mix of folk, country and gospel. Ken was also host of the PBS TV show, "My Heart Will Always Be in Carolina" The album is named after the program and includes the theme song from the show.
The latest album from The Captain's Crew "Beyond the Sunset" is a mix of original and cover songs with a new sound. From Sea Shanties to Contemporary and Country and Southern Gospel this collection of songs will keep you listening from tracks 1 through 13
The Captain’s Crew has released their first CD in six years, “Beyond the Sunset”. The Crew is joined once again by a number of their friends, who share their musical talent giving each song a unique melody that will keep you listening from the first track to the last, which happens to be a Christmas song bonus track called, “Christmas Bells”. The CD was recorded and mixed in the “Life Saving Station” studio, in Wanchese, NC.
The Captain’s Crew is Jack Cahoon on bass and vocals; Will Fields on guitar and vocals; Connie Francis on vocals; Eddie Francis on guitar and vocals; Bill Rea on mandolin, dobro and vocals; Roy Riddick,on drums and vocals; Ken Mann on piano, guitar and banjo.
The 13 songs on the album include 5 original songs and new arrangements of 8 old favorites. The CD begins with “There’s an Anchor in the Boat written by Eddie Francis. Former Warner Brothers recording artist, Roy Murray, plays flute and piccolo to give the song the sound of an old-time sea shanty. Murray arranged and played trumpet and cornet on a number of other songs on the CD including the title track, “Beyond the Sunset”. This classic, with Roy Riddick singing the lead, has a new rhythm with bongos and trumpets giving the song a real calypso flavor.
David Johnson, one of North Carolina’s great studio musicians, who has played on most all of the Crews previous CDs, comes together with former band member Rocky Creef, who returned to play what some say is the best old time church piano in the Tar Heel State. Johnson’s fiddles complement Creef’s piano, like a hand in a glove, on two Will Fields songs, the Jimmy Davis pinned “What Heaven Means to Me” and, “He is my Everything”. Johnson can also be heard on steel guitar, mandolin, banjo and dobro, filling in behind the members of the band throughout the album.
One of the many special songs in the collection is, “A Friend Called Jesus”. The soft and sweet drums that set the tempo, were played by the late Martin Parker and were recorded shortly before his death. The Edenton native also, played on most of the past records of the Crew. He was best known for his award-winning performances with artists like Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill.
Katelyn Rae joins her father, Bill, for a stirring rendition of the Hank Williams Sr. favorite, “House of Gold”, Her powerful delivery will keep you hanging on each word, giving the listener reason to stop and reflect on the story Hank was telling when he wrote the song many years ago. Bill also sings lead on a soulful rendition of “People Get Ready”. Jack Cahoon plays a perfect bass to this timeless gospel number, as well as giving a solid bottom to the remaining tunes for the other musicians to play with.
Connie Francis’ background vocals and lead vocal on the standard, “It is No Secret”, are a perfect blend with each song. Her many years of experience and love for the music is evident with every note she sings.
The melodies of three of the songs will sound very familiar. “He is My Everything” is sung to the tune of the big Jack Green hit, “There Goes My Everything”. Before his death, Green and song writer Dallas Frazier rewrote the words to reflect their faith. It is this new gospel version of the song you will hear on the CD. “I’m Stepping In” is a remake of the Johnny Cash song, “Folsom Prison Revival”, but the lead guitar was setup to sound like Waylon Jennings so it is a real toe tapper. It just so happens the words to “Amazing Grace” fit perfectly with music in the verses, of the Eagles, “Peaceful, Easy Feeling”, so the group combined the two songs. Those who grew up in the 70s will find themselves singing this musical mix over and over again.
The last song on the CD is called “Christmas Bells”. Mann, also the producer of the album, said it may seem odd to include one Christmas song on a CD, especially this time of year, but remembers when James Taylor did it on his, “October Road”, album, when he included, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Mann added “Eddie Francis wrote such a great song and the live performance of strings and horns sounded so beautiful, we simply could not wait to share it with everyone. Now you can be in the Christmas spirit all year long”.
The Captain’s Crew has played together for well over fifteen years at fairs, festivals and churches, including The North Carolina State Fair, The Midnight Jamboree, The Nashville Cowboy Church, Merle Fest and Singing on the Mountain. The band has appeared with such notable artists as The Dixie Melody Boys, The Laymen, John Anderson, Ricky Van Shelton, The Kingston Trio, Ronnie McDowell, The Chairman of the Board, the late George Hamilton IV, The Anchormen, Just Inspired, Undivided, Michael Combs, The Greenes and Wanda Jackson.
The Captain’s Crew sang to a nationwide TV audience when they appeared on the television special, “An Outer Banks Christmas” and the "George Hamilton" special on the UNC TV Network hosted by band member Ken Mann on, “My Heart Will Always Be in Carolina”. Two of their five previous albums were listed for eligibility for Grammy consideration and their songs can be heard on radio stations around the world including XM Satellite Radio.
It is yet to be determined what the first single release to radio stations will be, but no doubt it will join the many other records the Crew has charted in past years. Although all of their songs are gospel, their diverse sound has resulted in their music being played by radio stations featuring various formats of music from around the world. The single, “Don’t Let the Devil Dance” was number one on the Texas Swing charts, while “We Will Meet Again” reached number one on both the Radio Active Country and Southern Gospel Charts, and the single, “There’s a New Kid in Town” reached the top ten, on the Independent European charts.
Collection of original and cover Southern and Country Gospel songs by The Captain's Crew from The Outer Banks of North Carolina
The album was recorded at the Coastal Production Company “Life Saving Station” studio in Wanchese, Martin Parker’s studio in Edenton and at Crossroads Music studio in Arden North Carolina. The final mix down was also done at Crossroads. Joining the Captain’s Crew musicians were a number of the top studio musicans in Southern Gospel Music including Martin Parker, drummer with Vince Gill for 15 years, David Johnson, the Gospel Music Association’s studio musician of the year and Jeff Collins from Crossroads music, who has played on several Dove and Grammy Award winning recordings.
The Captain’s Crew has played at many fairs. festivals and churches over the past 15 years including Merle Fest, The NC State Fair, Singing on the Mountain, The Midnight Jamboree at the Troubadour Theater and the Cowboy Church, both in Nashville. The diversity of the gospel music they sing and play is reflected by the diversity of the artists they have shared the stage with, including Ricky Van Shelton, John Anderson, The Dixie Melody Boys, The Kingston Trio, The Chairman of the Board, Michael Combs, The Greenes, Ronnie McDowell, Wanda Jackson and George Hamilton IV. The Captain’s Crew has also appeared on UNC TV in an “Outer Banks Christmas” and with George Hamilton IV on “My Heart Will Always Be In Carolina”.