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try churches to listen to amateur or semiprofessional gospel singers, he reasoned, might not they be willing to pay and stay up nights to hear their favorite religious singers of radio and records? They would—and they did.
Fowler's first All-Nite Sing, at Nashville's Ryman Audi­torium, brought 1,800 people slogging through a raging ice storm so vicious that police had warned the populace to stay at home. A two-hour broadcast of the 12-hour song fest brought nearly 10,000 fan letters from all over the United States and Canada.
Ever since, Fowler has been keeping vast audiences glued to their seats. Only recently has he abbreviated some of his sundown-to-sunup concerts to six or seven hours—to catch up on lost sleep and let his fans catch up on theirs.
Of course, many Christians prefer their religious music with less ballyhoo and jive. Some have even assailed the road shows as "gospel boogie." But Fowler has an answer for them.
"We're doing what the Lord wants us to do," he says. "If we sing hymns to practically every beat except the tango and the mambo, it's because it doesn't matter how you honor the Lord, just so you honor Him. The Lord doesn't want His children going around with long faces. He wants 'em to be happy."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III