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Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes - If It Had Not Been For Love

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Published on Feb 10, 2010

Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes - If It Had Not Been For Love
Willie Neal "The Country Boy" Johnson hailed from Tyler, Texas and also from one big musical family. He is the eldest of six children and says that his mother always had them singing in one church or another. Reverend C.W. Jackson recognized Willie's talent and extended the offer for Willie to join his group, the Five Ways of Joy Gospel Singers. He accepted and thus the professional career of Willie Neal Johnson began while he was yet in his teens.

After a few years, Willie approached some of his hometown pals and convinced them to join him in forming a new group, Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes. The original members were: Ralph McGee, Reverend J.D. Talley, Charles Bailey, John Jackson, Lonzo Jackson and Archie B. McGee. The newly formed Gospel Keynotes rapidly became one of the standout Gospel groups in their area and soon got their first big break - an introduction to Mr. Ernie Young, President of Nashboro Records. This meeting resulted in the group being signed to the Nashville-based gospel record label and having their first taste of success with a national hit record, "Show Me The Way". During this association, more than 20 albums and many Gospel singles were recorded.

Over the years, personnel changes would occur and the following were members of the Gospel Keynotes at one time: Larry McGowan, Paul Beasley and Donny Timmons. After Nashboro Records shut its doors and ceased to function, Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes signed with Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi in 1985. With Malaco, the group changed its name to Willie Neal Johnson and the New Keynotes with current members Robert Williams, LaManuel Boykin, Maurice Morgan, David Talley, Kenneth Talley and Teddy Cross. Under the direction of Willie Neal Johnson, the New Keynotes are a combination of Gospel talents fused and blended into an explosive, high-energy electrifying performance group. Their selection of materials and the manner in which they present their songs in a performance is like a good old fashioned, foot stomping, hand clapping, tear streaming revival led by a soul stirring, aisle-walking preacher, singing and shouting and dispensing the Gospel in a soul-saving manner.


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