Southern gospel, bluegrass and country legends honored in the Carolinas

From left are Ed and Genny Wallace, Johnny Carson, Phyllis A. Cole, “Doc” Tommy Scott and Randall Franks. (Photo by Carol Edwards)

The Carolinas Country-Bluegrass-Gospel Hall of Fame recently held its third annual awards celebration adding several Georgians to their honorees.

Among the Legend Award winners are entertainer/actor Randall Franks, entertainer “Doc” Tommy Scott, and Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Ed Wallace.

Franks of Ringgold, Ga. is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from “In the Heat of the Night.”

“I am honored to be among my fellow Georgians who were recognized for their contributions to the musical experience in North and South Carolina. I have enjoyed some of my greatest performance opportunities there from appearing with my band the Peachtree Pickers as a youth at Myrtle Beach for Norman Adams, to appearing with Bill Monroe, Jim and Jesse, and others around the two states. My Randall Franks Show held its biggest performance in the Carolinas for a crowd of 30,000, so I have many fond memories of the great folks in the Carolinas who have supported me.”

Scott, 92, of Toccoa, Ga. was a 1940s Grand Ole Opry ® star and a western film star who hosted two nationwide TV shows in the 1940s and 50s and made over 29,000 public appearances.

“I was honored to be included among this talented group of award recipients,” Scott said. “From my early days on radio on WPTF, WRAL, and later for the Man O Ree and Vim Herb Medicine companies, the folks in the Carolinas have always been part of my life and music. North Carolina and South Carolina are among the top states where my own medicine show made repeat appearances throughout my career.”

Wallace of the Sunshine Boys and the Light Crust Doughboys starred in films, on radio and records and in venues around the world.

“This award means a great deal to me since it took me back to my roots when I started with the Sunshine Boys at WSB radio in Atlanta, Ga. in 1942,” Wallace said. “It was the background of everything I have done in the music field since it led from radio to record

contracts, movies, television and personal appearances all over the United States and foreign countries.

“This award puts the icing on the cake and I appreciate the Carolinas Country-Bluegrass-Gospel Hall of Fame for this honor.”

Also honored from Georgia were Georgia Music Hall of Fame member Johnny Carson and Phyllis A. Cole of Atlanta, Ga. receiving both the Pioneer and Icon awards for their work in perpetuating the music. Jerry and Helen Burke of Woodstock, Ga. received the Pioneer, Community Service and Icon awards while singer/guitarist Rick Smith and Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame staff member Carol Edwards were honored with Legend Awards.

“These Georgians have had a tremendous impact on the Carolinas,” said Burlan Dean Marsh, president. “Through live and radio performances, promoting events featuring South Carolina talent they all individually became part of the musical fabric of our communities.”

Marsh, a bass player, serves as president of the organization while banjo stylist J. Max McKee of Shelby, NC and performer Bob Wyatt of Rock Hill, SC are its founders.

“The purpose of our organization is to help musicians in need,” McKee said.

Wyatt said that it is through the teamwork of the board and members that the organization continues to grow.

The organization presented awards to numerous recipients throughout the course of the evening that incorporated musical performances.

Among the categories were Hall of Fame, Hall of Honor, Heritage Awards, Legends Awards, Pioneer Awards, Horizon Awards, Community Service Awards, Icon Awards, Band Awards, Special Awards and Media Awards.

Hall of Fame inductees include Frances C. Strait, Burlan Dean Marsh, Dan X. Padgett, Dwayne Ford, Jimmie Claude Carter, Rebecca Merli, and Gilbert Hames.

Hall of Honor inductees were Tom Griffith, Bobby Wray, Bruce Gibbins, James Soder, Tommy Kay, Billy Meridith, Roger Dale Owens, James Walt Ramey, Ralph Biggers, Steve Hubbs, Blake Stevens, and Michelle M. Osborne.

The late Carl Story was among the 10 Heritage Award honorees.

The organization honored Timber Ridge as Band of the Year; J. Max McKee for guitarist; David Heffner for mandolin; Burlan Dean Marsh for bass; Jim Reynolds for banjo; Dave McClellan and Roger Owens for Dobro ®; Don Armstrong for rhythm guitar; Melvin Roten for fiddle; Golden Valley Crusaders Gospel Band of the Year; Millard Edwards of WAXM as disc jockey; and Teena McKee as female vocalist.