Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Too Much To Gain To Lose, Remembering Billy Todd September 26, 1929 - November 30, 2008
It certainly was an privilege to join the Dixie Echoes but also to follow immediately in the footsteps of such a great bass singer and wonderful person. In fact, it's quite intimidating! I had numerous opportunities to sit and visit with Billy before becoming a member of the Dixie Echoes. He always had a kind word to say, or a funny story to pass along. One of the greatest honors was when I was selected to be Billy's replacement he told me that he couldn't think of a better person to follow him. Anytime we would sing close to Pensacola, Billy would be there. He was always encouraging and supportive to me and it was always a pleasure to be able to sing next to him when we had the chance. On several occasions I had the opportunity to go out and eat with Billy and his wife Jane and Stewart Varnado. Those were great times and I will always remember them.
The last time I saw Billy was at the first J.G. Whitfield Memorial Sing in June, 2007. By this time the Alzheimer's was beginning to take quite a toll on him. But when Billy took the stage with all of the former Dixie Echoes and Florida Boys members it was obvious he was where he was meant to be. His face lit up and he fell back into that old groove doing what he loved to do. That was the last time I saw Billy face to face. Periodically Stewart would give me reports on Billy's health and unfortunately he seemed to get worse with each report. Thankfully he's finally in a better place with a sound mind and singing in the greatest choir of gospel singers ever! He will certainly be missed but someday soon we'll all join in together when all of God's singers get home!
Here are some links to other rememberances of Billy Todd:
Singing News.com Forums
Below are some pictures from my personal collection.
This was probably one of the most popular line-ups of the Florida Boys. (L-R): Glen Allred, Derrell Stewart, Les Beasley, Tommy Atwood, and Billy together again at the J.G. Whitfield Memorial Sing June, 2007.
Billy, you are loved and will be missed greatly, may we meet again soon my friend!
Here is a clip of Billy singing his favorite song, "Too Much To Gain To Lose" with the Florida Boys from the Gospel Singing Jubilee