A Purely American Musical Genre – The Barbershop Quartet

The Sidewinders from Riverside, California were the 1964 Barbershop Harmony Society International Champions.  In about 1962 I heard them sing this song at Fullerton High School during the Fullerton chapter’s Spring Show.  At the time I was singing in my own junior high school quartet.  These guys were our heroes.

Gene Boyd, who was actually the baritone in the group, sang the lead on this song, Full Time Job.  The comedic sketch that went with it was hilarious.  Boyd always wore his hair in a huge pompadour.  The man could sing.

After taking us through the main chorus, Boyd changes keys upward and launches into a yodeling episode.  Then after a little falsetto cadenza he prepares for the final note, which the listener is just sure is going to be at the very top end of his vocal range.

Before Boyd can hit that last note, the other members of the quartet, beginning with bass Jay Wright, followed by the tenor Jerry Fairchild and the lead tenor, Joe Daniels, interrupt him and insist he move the key upward, because he’s under the pitch.  So, rather incredulous that he’s been accused of singing “flat”, Boyd raises the key three times, making us absolutely certain he’ll never be able to hit that last note.

At this point, one of the others taps him on the shoulder and says, “Good luck.”

You’ll have to listen to find out what happens next.

saturday june 27 1964 undoubtedly was the happiest day in the history ...

About John L. Work

John Lloyd Work has taken the detective thriller genre and woven an occasional political thread throughout his books, morphing what was once considered an arena reserved for pure fiction into believable, terrifying, futuristic, true-to-life “faction”. He traveled the uniformed patrolman’s path, answering brutal domestic violence calls, high speed chases, homicides, suicides, armed robberies, breaking up bar fights, and the accompanying sporadic unpredictable moments of terror - which eventually come to all police officers, sometimes when least expected. He gradually absorbed the hard fact that the greatest danger a cop faces comes in the form of day-to-day encounters with emotionally disturbed, highly intoxicated people. Those experiences can wear a cop down, grinding on his own emotions and psyche. Prolonged exposure to the worst of people and people at their worst can soon make him believe that the world is a sewer. That police officer’s reality is a common thread throughout Work’s crime fiction books. Following his graduation from high school, Work studied music and became a professional performer, conductor and teacher. Life made a sudden, unexpected turn when, one afternoon in 1976, his cousin, who eventually became the Chief of the Ontario, California, Police Department, talked him into riding along during a patrol shift. The musician was hooked into becoming a police officer. After working for two years as a reserve officer in Southern California and in Boulder, Colorado, he joined the Longmont, Colorado Police Department. Work served there for seven years, investigating crimes as a patrolman, detective and patrol sergeant. In 1989 he joined the Adams County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office, where he soon learned that locking a criminal up inside a jail or prison does not put him out of business. As a sheriff’s detective he investigated hundreds of crimes, including eleven contract murder conspiracies which originated “inside the walls”. While serving on the Adams County North Metro Gang Task Force and as a member of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING), Work designed a seminar on how a criminal’s mind formulates his victim selection strategy. Over a period of six years he taught that class in sheriff’s academies and colleges throughout Colorado. He saw the world of crime both inside the walls and out on the streets. His final experiences in the criminal law field were with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, where for nearly two years he investigated felonies from the defense side of the Courtroom. Twenty-two years of observing human nature at its worst, combined with watching some profound changes in America’s culture and political institutions, provided plenty of material for his first three books. A self-published author, he just finished writing his tenth thriller.
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