About The Group
Texas was at one time known as the "garden spot of gospel singing in America". The Rangers Quartet have their roots in Texas and they derived their name from the fact that when they were first struggling after forming the group, former Governor James V. Alfred commissioned them as "Texas Rangers" in 1935 and had them tour about 13 states to promote the Texas Centennial Celebration.
They seized the opportunity and were able to build on that tour's success. Their next stop was in Louisville, Kentucky where they hooked up a spot on the 50,000 watt station WHAS. At that time, gospel songs were relatively new to that part of the country. There was some debate as to whether they would be successful, but they won their audiences over.
They wrote in the WIBW Round-Up in 1949 that their popularity in Louisville was such that the station started using the amphitheater in town and along with a song evangelist, Homer Rodeheaver to lead the singing, a community gospel sing every night for a period of six weeks. Any doubts about their popularity should have been dispelled when crowds were seen overflowing into the surrounding hills near the amphitheater.
Even the local politicians got into the act and tagging along the coattails of the group's popularity. They were asked to perform during the campaign tours. And the group did, for a candidate of each party and interestingly or coincidentally or not, both of those candidates won but no mention was made of who they were in the magazine.
From Louisville, the group moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where they stayed for nine years. One of their shows during that run at WBT was on the Columbia Broadcasting System network for several years.
The magazine article noted that by 1949, they had given over 10,000 radio broadcasts, 5,000 personal appearances on stage and driven a more than one and a half million miles in their journeys.
The group also gave of themselves when they weren't performing. They would visit hospitals and shut-in friends at their homes. And when they could, they would sing at funerals for no charge when asked by the families.
Members of the group included Denver Crumpler, a native of Arkansas and had previous show business experience before joining the group. Vernon Hyles was the manager and emcee of their shows. Vernon was born in Italy, Texas. Arnold Hyles was Vernon's brother and also born in Italy, Texas. The brothers had been singing together ever since they were kids and at one time performed as a "Hyles Quartet". Walter Leverett handled the booking of the group and the fan mail. Walter was a native of the East Texas area. The only accompaniment the group used for several years was a guitar. But later on, the decided they needed a piano player, too and Doy Ott, a native of Oklahoma was brought into the group.
In our research, we found that the group had moved to KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana in June of 1949 from Raleigh, where they had finished nearly a decade of performing in the Atlantic coastal region. The group underwent some changes in personnel it appears after that article in the WIBW Round-Up. Walter Leverett died of a heart attack and was replaced in 1949 by Ermin Slater. At that time, David Reece was their piano accompanist at this time and in a car with the other quartet members following behind.
In January of 1951, tragedy struck the group on the highways just west of Douglasville, Texas on their way to Naples, Texas. The car in which Arnold Hyles and Ermin Slater were driving was in an accident with a pickup truck that killed Mr. Slater upon impact. Arnold was in critical condition in the article from the Shreveport, Louisiana Times of January 14, 1951. The group was reported on their way to Naples after doing an appearance at the Concord Church in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.
In 1949, WIBW aired their programs at shows at 6:00am every Monday through Saturday and at 8:15am and 6:30pm every Monday through Friday.
Timeline and Trivia Notes
Group Members included:
Notes to picture at top of page: L-R, back row: Arnold Hyles, Denver Crumpler; L-R, front row: Vernon Hyles, Doy Ott, Walter Leverett
Credits & Sources
Sound Sample(YouTube Video Format)
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