By Danny Jones
Monday, February 4, 2002
James Blackwood has been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award thirty-one different years. He is once again in the list of Grammy Award nominees (at the age of 82) for his final project recorded with Ann-Margret, the Jordanaires, and The Light Crust Dough Boys. The Gospel Music Association has presented Mr Blackwood with its highest recognition, The Dove Award, seven times for being the top male vocalist in his field. His impressive list of accolades and achievements includes an honorary doctorate from Golden State University (1983), numerous "Lifetime Achievement Awards," the most recent given to him by the Germantown, Tennessee Arts Alliance in 2001. Dr Blackwood was an intense man of faith who was most honored when the Assemblies of God bestowed upon him their highest recognition of achievement, "The General Superintendent's Medal of Honor" in 2001.
The music of James Blackwood and The Blackwood Brothers has entertained and inspired an impressive list of personalities who have shaped Americana, including former American Presidents, and Elvis Presley. The late Presley, who always referred to James respectfully as "Mr Blackwood," was very outspoken regarding his admiration for the Blackwood family. James and his quartet sang at both funeral services for Elvis Presley, and Presley's mother. The current Attorney General of the United States, The Honorable John Ashcroft, is among the enormous list of devoted friend and admirers of James Blackwood.
The Story of Dr James W Blackwood, Sr is a true American tale of triumph over hardship. In 1934, James, along with his brothers Doyle and Roy, and nephew RW Blackwood, Sr founded The Blackwood Brothers. Having once been Mississippi sharecroppers, the four men refused to let such humble beginnings hinder their passion for music. In 1954, The group became the first to ever present gospel music to the masses on network television with an unforgettable appearance on the CBS program, "The Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts."
The voice, face, and name, James Blackwood has been seen and heard world wide on every major television and radio network, and most recently on the extremely popular Bill Gaither Homecoming Videos (which have given new life to the genre James Blackwood loved so dearly).
Although Dr James W Blackwood, Sr was the last member of the original Blackwood Brothers, his legacy will live on through the lives and talents of his sons, Jimmy Blackwood of Memphis, TN, and Billy Blackwood of Hendersonville, TN, who each have active and successful careers in the gospel music and ministry fields, and many nephews and nieces, the offspring of the other members of the original group, who will continue to carry the family torch as well.
Dr Blackwood is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mim, his two sons and their wives, six grand-daughters, two great-granddaughters, and three great-grandsons.
He will be best remembered as "Mr Gospel Music," a title given to him by the people who loved him. However, James Blackwood said on countless occasions that the ultimate prize of his existence would come not from people, but from his deep belief in the Bible passage found in the book of Matthew 25:21. He longed to hear his Lord Jesus say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Funeral services will be held Thursday, February 7, 2002 at First Assembly of God on Walnut Grove Rd, in Memphis, TN at 1:00 pm. Memorial and funeral arrangements have been made by the Roller Family Funeral Home of Memphis, TN.