“I never thought I’d sing in Devils Lake,” third-generation gospel singer Mark Blackwood said Monday night, “but here we are.”
And a near perfect night it was. The rain held off, the temperature was perfect, and there wasn’t a mosquito in sight at Roosevelt Park.
This will certainly date me, but I first heard the Blackwood Quartet at a little county fair in the summer of 1969, the moon landing summer and the summer of Chappaquiddick, when I was a paid intern at KUMV-TV in Williston. ($1.25 an hour, as I recall.) I took a break from reading local news to hear some music. Theirs has stayed with me ever since.
The Blackwood story is easily Googled and well-preserved on YouTube. The Memphis quartet has been around in one version or another since 1934. They sang with Elvis. Any questions?
If I had describe the Blackwood Quartet in one word, that word would be classy. One more thing — and there is no other way to put this — their music will touch your soul.
Earlier this year, Willie Nelson invited them to do a half-hour of gospel in front of 30,000 believers (and probably a few nonbelievers) at Farm Aid. I suspect they came close to tearing the place down with their music because next year Willie is releasing an album of gospel with the quartet, produced by Mark Blackwood. Where do I preorder?
Note to Ginny: If Tony Bennett is unavailable to sing at my funeral (yes, he is going to outlive me), try to get the Blackwoods.