Panting Hart Music LOCAL GOSPEL LEGEND INTERVIEW

Name: Mally Jones                                                                            Group or Ministry: The King’s Country Men

Age: Born 1928                                                               Hometown: Connellsville, PA(childhood) to Salem, NJ(adult) 

Musical Talent: bass vocals and upright bass                                                                              Today’s Date: 11/5/17  

 

1. At what age did you first start signing/playing?

“At around 3 years of age. Mom played piano and I would sing along—like ‘O where, O where has my little dog gone.’

 

2. At what age did you realize you had a special gift for music?

“Once when I was about age 6, I jumped up on the stage at a YMCA presentation even though I wasn’t supposed to be performing at all at this event. Once I got up there I froze and was quite stage struck. I just stood there until Mom came up and rescued me.”

 

3. How and when did you get involved in with the The King’s County Men? Who else was in the group?

“Around 1962 I became curious about a revival movement that had broken out in Salem with the coming of Chuck Murray as the new Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in our town. I soon joined one of the many small prayer and fellowship groups for men that were forming. I eventually gave my heart to Christ. I began singing with and then playing bass for guitarist and singer John Bobbitt. A few years later John and I were invited to perform at a Community Church in Elmer, NJ. Also playing that night were Warren Purdy who sang baritone and played lead guitar and his brother, Andy, who sang tenor and played banjo. They had come down to Elmer from Philadelphia. After the main program the four of us got together behind the church and tried out a few songs. Something clicked and that was the night that “The King’s Country Men” began. That was 1968.”

 

4. To the best of your knowledge. . .

a. When did the group start?

“1968.”

 

b. When did the ministry conclude, if it has?

“John and I, along with Warren and Andy and a few others, played together until at least 1997.”

 

c.  Were any recordings released while you were involved:

TITLES

DATE RELEASED

Label/Independent

# of copies

Someone Up in Heaven (LP)

1971

Independent

500

The Sweetest Songs We Know (LP)

1973

Independent

500

The King’s Country Men (LP)

1975

Independent

500

The King’s Country Men-II (LP)

1977

Independent

500

 




 

d. Approximately how often did the group perform while you were involved? Per week, month, and/or year?

“We practiced weekly for just about 30 years!”

 

e. Approximately how many total performances did you do with the group?

“We averaged about 4 appearances per month. We never charged the churches, just took an offering.”

(That’s an approximate total of about 1,500 performances!)

 

f. What are some locations at which you performed regularly?  What about out of town or out of state performances?

“Many local churches and also bluegrass events in the tri-state area.” (NJ, PA, and DE)

 

g. What were some of your favorite songs? Did the group do any original songs?

“O, I loved all those songs. I didn’t really have a favorite. The Purdys did write a few, like Andy’s “Please Mister.”

 

h. Can you recall a favorite or special performance?
“Yeah, my favorite was out in Lancaster, PA at what they called Shindig at the Barn. We did that many times and people there used to request us so they would have us back. It was there that we opened for and met many Nashville groups. We met Dolly Parton at one of those, she was great to us and so pretty! We also met the Goodmans and many others. That place was a highlight for us.”
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Look into Mally's Scrapbook  Listen to: "I Heard My Mother Call My Name in Prayer"(1973) and "Please Mister"(1975)
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