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GLEN ALLRED


Glen Allred was born on June 19, 1934 in Monroe, TN as the baby of three children to Homer and Lola Grace Buckner Allred. Glen had one brother named Melvin and a sister named Illa. Glen comes from a long line of Allreds, as he has learned recently by studying his family name and heritage. He shares, "My great-great-great-great grandpa, Soloman Allred (b.1734) came to Richmond County, NC by way of Virginia. His son went to Overton County, TN and settled there around c.1800, and that's where I was born." Glen started singing when he was about five, and he remembers that he had, "a bunch of cousins who played and I started playing a Gene Autry guitar when I was eight years old. It cost a whopping four dollars!

As I grew, they let me sing solos at different assemblies at churches and high schools, and I did a lot of singin' and playin' around the house with my family. As time went by, I started going to many of the singing schools and though they started teaching music in grammar school, it was at the singing schools where I learned to read music. I would sit in the section that was singing my part, and learned from the members of that section about the notes and shapes. It was a lot better than sitting by myself outside the group, and it was much easier for me to learn.

The first gospel singing I really did was with my mama and my sister, Illa. When I was about fourteen I was asked to join a country band there in my hometown of Monterey ,TN. We didn't travel much, just to schools close to Monterey, and they let me play about three songs with them a night. They were called the Dixie Drifters, and the guy that was the leader of the group was named Bob King. I was still going to singing conventions, and when I was fifteen, Mr. Wilburn Whitaker offered me a position. It wasn't really a job 'cause we weren't making anything, with the Monterey quartet. We travelled in a pick-up truck, all four of us in the cab, and on one of our singing dates we went to Baxter, TN to open the program for Wally Fowler and the Oak Ridge Quartet. I met Wally and the Oaks, and Wally asked me to go to Louisville, Ky the next Sunday to try out for them. I had to take a bus to Nashville to meet them and ride up to Louisville in their car. I didn't know they had asked another guy to try out at the same time, and on the way to Louisville we picked him up, too. We got to Louisville for the Sunday afternoon singing at the Municipal auditorium with the Rangers Quartet. The Oaks put the other guitar picker and me on stage to do a duet during the concert. Well, we got to pickin' and the audience was really eating it up, and all at once his amp started goin' crazy. (Glen chuckles to himself) He went back to the amp and started kickin' it all to pieces. I tried to keep my cool and keep on picking. I still didn't know which one of us would get the job, but on the way back to Nashville that night, we stopped to let him off at his home. I heard the guys telling him at the back of the car that I had gotten the job, and that was it. I sang baritone and played the guitar with the Oak Ridge Quartet from Feb. 1951 to May of 1952. I was on the Grand Ole' Opry at the Ryman with the Oaks for about six months. Then, two of the guys came to me and told me they were cutting down on expenses and so they were letting the guitar picker, that was me, go. It really hurt me 'cause I really enjoyed that year and a half, and I hated to see it end. Anyway, I left Nashville and went to Valdosta, GA to sing with the Happy Rhythm Quartet. Mr. McGuirt ran that group, but after about two months, a couple of the other guys and I decided we wanted to sing more than what we were doing. So the Piano player/first tenor, Jimmy Taylor, and the bass singer, Tommy Miller, and I went to Savannah, GA and formed our own group. We even had a radio show there in Savannah where we called ourselves the Spirit of Dixie Trio." Glen recalls he was working at the Shell station there ..."but I don't think the other two guys had jobs." At one of the Trio's concerts, a certain audience member was someone with whom Glen would get to know very well in about four years. Derrell Stewart said he remembers hearing this group one night and how neat he thought it was hearing guys his own age singing, "And they had a good sound!"

Glen remembers, "That same year, 1952, Mr. J.G. Whitfield called me and offered me a job with the Gospel Melody Quartet. He advanced me Forty Dollars to make the trip, 'cause I sure didn't have any money. So I went to Pensacola, FL in Sept. of 1952 and joined the group. Les came about six months later in Feb of 1953. We changed the name to The Florida Boys in 1955, and Derrell joined us in Feb. of 1956. In 1957, I quit the group, went into building kitchen cabinets for six months, and organized another quartet called the Navigators. There wasn't enough money to keep that together, so I went to Mr. Whitfield to ask for my job back, and I was very happy he took me back."

Glen has won the Favorite Baritone award, and is considered to be one of the smoothest singers in the business. No one sings songs like "The Lighthouse" and "Beulah Land" with as much class as Glen Allred. While many singers today add a lot of flare or vocal gymnastics to their singing, Glen is proof that you can stand there flat-footed, with your hands on a guitar, sing from the heart, and still bring a tear to the eye of those needing encouragement. There are not many people that are loved like Glen Allred in Southern Gospel. Ask anyone in the business and they will tell you that Glen is one of the sweetest and nicest men in our business. Some of Glen's treasures from the years include three Mosrite guitars given him by the late Semmie Mosley.

Glen would like to mention his wife Shirley and his kids Randy and Cindy. "I have been happily married to Shirley since 1954 and I sure do want to thank her for taking our kids to church all those Sundays when I couldn't be there. They have sacrificed so much through these years, and I could never have done this for so long without their support and faith. You know, today our kids are taking their kids to church and I really give Shirley the credit for being such a strong Christian wife and mother. I love you Shirley."

Congratulations to Glen on his recent induction into the Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame... Glen was also honored with the cover of the February 2001 Singing News Magazine. Then in 2003, Glen was awarded the Marvin Norcross Award at the National Quartet Convention.