The Florida Boys are a celebrated Southern gospel group that was formed originally by J.G. Whitfield in 1947 as the Gospel Melody Quartet. By 1955, the Melody Quartet was gone and the Florida Boys were on the scene to stay -- and stay. Some of the early members were lead Les Beasley, baritone and guitarist Glen Allred, tenor Allen Cox, bassist Gene McDonald, and pianist Derrell Sewart. After some personnel changes, members included lead Josh Garner, Tommy Watwood, bassist Buddy Liles, and tenor Jerry Trammell.
In the mid-'60s, the gospel group became the first to have its own syndicated television program, the Gospel Singing Jubilee, that played nationwide. The show won many awards, including a number of esteemed Dove Awards. Over the 50-plus years of it's career, the Florida Boys have recorded numerous albums, including Brand New, A Taste of Heaven, Reaching Out, Gospel Gold, Home Once Again, and others. From the full-length recordings have come a number of hits, like "Lead Me to the Altar," "When He Was on the Cross, I Was on His Mind," "Standing on the Solid Rock," and "I Lean on You Lord." The group has been inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and appeared on popular television programs such as Crooke & Chase, The Today Show, and TNN's Prime Time Country.
By the year 2000, this old-time Southern gospel group showed no signs of giving up the ghost any time soon and were still touring over 200 days a year. ~ Charlotte Dillon