Posted by: coomercove | October 11, 2007

Brotherhood Quartet & Ebay wannabe Gems

I noticed yesterday that some traffic has come to the blog by using the search term “Brotherhood Quartet.” Until now, the only occurrence of the Brotherhood Quartet on the blog was the mention of it Lisa made when talking about her favorite groups. If you haven’t heard of the Brotherhood Quartet (from this point forward referred to as BQ), I’m not surprised.

The BQ is one of two quartets my dad, Harold, sings tenor for (the other being the Crystal River Boys, a group that formed out of the temporary disbanding of the BQ in the mid 80s… temporary being 15 years). The BQ formed in the early 70s when a group of friends in Elizabethton, TN found the Lord. The friends had been part of the Southern Kings, a country band, and still loved playing and singing, so they decided to continue on as a gospel group. Early on, their sound was heavily influenced by the Inspirations, who recorded several of BQ member Dennis Bradley’s songs (including two, “In The Sky” and “It’ll Be Alright With Me”, on the Warner Robins Live project).

In the early 80s, my dad joined and the sound shifted from a mountain or country gospel to more of a straight southern gospel quartet. They covered a few Gold City songs (probably why Gold City is my favorite today) and some other groups along with Dennis’s original songs. Listening to their recordings now, I think their style was a mix of the Kingsmen and Singing Americans.

The group disbanded in the mid 80s and three of the members started the Crystal River Boys. The original CRB included my dad singing tenor, Wayne Little singing lead, and original BQ lead singer Dennis Bradley singing baritone. This group recorded a project that included “The Spirit Descended Down”, a song that reached the top 50 on the Singing News chart – notable due to the fact that the radio promoter did nothing more than send the song out. He did no promotion of the song whatsoever. He had taken the money and disappeared (Nick Bruno called to let the group know what happened… my dad still speaks highly of him for making them aware). The project itself received very high reviews from DJs nation wide, including Sid Hughes, who wanted them to do a live interview on his show. With potential success staring them in the face, they got scared and decided they only wanted to pursue a local ministry.

A few members of the BQ eventually made it to full-time status in southern gospel music. The most well known is Mike Presnell, former bass singer for The Sound and Perfect Heart. Former and current BQ piano player Joe Lane played for several quartets, among them the Singing Americans, the Anchormen, and the Dixie Melody Boys. Dirk Johnson, another former piano player, has had a wonderful career in SGM as a member of the Hinsons and doing studio work. Wayne Little, current tenor for the Blackwood Brothers, began playing lead guitar for the BQ and would eventually take over as lead singer and make the transition to the Crystal River Boys. Though not a member of the BQ, Jonathan Presnell, who has played drums for Karen Peck & New River, Perfect Heart, and the Roarks, was around the group a lot (and my best friend until his dad joined The Sound and moved to Texas).

Now that you’ve suffered through the history lesson, I’ll get to the original point of this post. I decided to search for “Brotherhood Quartet” to see what else came up besides this blog. The first thing I noticed was a lot groups have used the name Brotherhood Quartet (I remember my Dad’s BQ asking several groups to change their name when they were singing in the 1980s).

I did find a linkthat amuses me. Someone has gotten their hands on a BQ cd and has listed it on ebay (Adam Edwards, how could you miss this Ebay Gem?). It wouldn’t be so interesting to me if it was someone local, but the item location is in Texas and the seller is North Florida Christian Music.

The cd itselt, Mercy Covers It All, came out about three years ago. Dennis Bradley has songs recorded by the Inspirations, Florida Boys, Nelons, Hoppers, and others, but the two best songs he has ever written are on this cd. The title track, “Mercy Covers It All”, and “Nobody Ever Loved Me Like Jesus” are great songs, even if they are more country gospel than southern gospel.

I’m sorry for the long post. If you actually read all of it, thank you. If nothing else, I enjoyed the trip through my childhood memories.


I also found this Brotherhood Quartet item on ebay.  It is a 45 that the BQ sent out to radio right after my dad joined.  I used to have one of these when I was in kindergarten.  I can’t wait for it to be delivered.  The quartet lineup is my dad, Dennis Bradley, John Matheson, and Mike Presnell. 



  1. I haven’t seen any ‘gems’ on ebay lately (that I haven’t wanted for myself, anyway). Who exactly is the BQ? 🙂

  2. Adam, I’m glad you asked who the BQ is.

    You see, stop me if you’ve read this before, the BQ is one of two quartets my dad, Harold, sings tenor for(the other being the Crystal River Boys, a group that formed out of the temporary disbanding of the BQ in the mid 80s… temporary being 15 years). The BQ formed in the early 70s…………

  3. where is mike presnell now? i have not seen him in years…………

  4. can you get me in touch with him? email me and i will give you my cell number

  5. I happened to stumble on you comments. I enjoyed ready it. It brought back memories. I played with the BQ back in the mid 70’s. It was a brief time. I enjoyed the time I was with them. At that time the group consist of sinngers: Dennis Bradley , Dennis Laws, Mike Presnell & Jim Matheson. Us musicians were: John Matheson (steel player), Jackie Livingston (drums) & I played the bass guitar.

    I regret to this day that I had to quit the group – because of personal reasons. If it were not for that I would have stayed with them until the end. I am glad to see that they are back singing. I met your dad.

    If you see the band, let them know that I still play their music. I would love to sit in just one more time with them and play for old times. I told Dennis if he ever needed a bass player…I would be available. I play in church, but I do miss playing with a Southern Gospel group. I have played with many groups since the mid 1970’s, and if I played with a group again I would perfer the BQ.

    Steve Phillips
    720 W. Mountain View Road
    Johnson City, TN 37604
    (423) 928-6270

  6. I was surprised to see information about the BQ. I played with them during the mid 1970’s. At that time the singers were: Dennis Bradley, Dennis Laws, Mike Presnell & Jim Matheson. The musicians were: John Matheson, Jackie Livington & myself.

    I would love to sit-in one more time with the group.

    Steve Phillips
    Johnson City, TN

  7. Nice to read your history lesson about the BQ. I am one of Mike Presnellsbest friends living in Pennsylvania. I dont think Ive ever heard a better bass singer. Jonathan is a great kid. i can understand why you were such good friends.

  8. Thank you for this post. I am Dennis Bradley’s sister. Dennis passed away May 27th. He sang his own funeral. The Brotherhood and members of the Crystal River Boys were all there. The Brotherhood sang back up all with a cd. Dennis of course, sand lead. They sang,”In the Sky” which was recorded by the Inspirations. He sang “Mercy Covers it All” and ‘When The call Comes for Me to Cross Jordan”. It very very moving and a great tribute to his love for Christ and his talent. Ronnie Campbell gave the tribute.

    • You are welcome! I was actually at the service. I was running the CD player that the group sang along with.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: