International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend and country humorist Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” releases his latest Southern gospel and comedy CD “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” for digital purchase at http://www.nimbitmusic.com/randallfranks along with 120 of his most popular songs and tunes.
“There has been such an amazing response for this CD,” Franks said. “Folks can now purchase their favorite song or comedy story to add to their favorites.”
Franks debuted the CD in a special appearance at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. appearing with President Jimmy Carter earlier this year.
Selections on “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” include some of his most requested songs: “This Little Light of Mine,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Amazing Grace,” “Old Time Religion,” and “In the Garden.” Among the comedy stories are “Chicken Addiction,” “A Tunnel Runs Through It/Re-Enactment,” “Indigenous/Sgt. York,” and “Cousin Viola and the Sanctified Grape Juice.”
With his latest release from Crimson Records, the Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle combines his fiddle stylings, dulcimer playing, vocals and comedy with a Southern gospel style piano. He called on the skills of former Stamps Quartet pianist Curtis Broadway. Broadway also performed with Gold City, the Pelfreys and many others.
“When I started my career I wanted to learn to play the piano like Hovie Lister and Eva Mae LeFevre, but I was never ever to reach that goal. Instead God brought me to the violin, dulcimer, and guitar to share His gifts,” Franks said. “I am honored to have such an amazing talent who has added to such great musical legacies in gospel music to support me in this musical adventure. He certainly plays like I wish I could!”
From left, Pastor Jeremy Shoulta, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, former President Jimmy Carter and International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend Randall Franks. (Randall Franks Media)
Appalachian scholar Loyal Jones included Franks amongst the region’s greatest country music humorists alongside Jeff Foxworthy and Minnie Pearl in his educational work “Country Music Humorists and Comedians.”
“I have always shared comedy all the way back to my days on ‘The Country Kids TV Series’ but unlike my old friend the late Jerry Clower, I have mainly shared my funny stories in print through my syndicated newspaper column – Southern Style,” he said. “This gives folks a taste of the stories between some of my musical offerings, just enough to hopefully bring a smile to their faces and leave a song in their hearts.”
Franks became the first solo bluegrass artist to reach the top rankings of the Christian music sales charts with his “Handshakes and Smiles” in 1990 forging new ground and opening new sales outlets for tradition artists to share their music. He created a partnership at Benson with the late producer Norman Holland, garnering turntable hits including the Telly Award nominee “Handshakes and Smiles,” “He’s Never Gonna Fool Me Again,” “You Better Get Ready,” “Pass Me Not” and “Rock of Ages.”
Later Southern gospel radio successes came in his partnership with producer Chris White of Sonlite yielding airplay around the world from recordings such as Franks’ “Sacred Sounds of Appalachia” and “Christmas Time’s A Comin’.” Gospel radio programmers also found his comedy and gospel on his Crimson bluegrass releases “Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill” and “God’s Children” with David Davis.
Franks serves as an advisor to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame board. He has performed in studio or on stage with gospel artists including the Marksmen Quartet, Jeff & Sheri Easter, the Watkins Family, the Lewis Family, Tim Lovelace, the Primitive Quartet, the Isaacs, the Easter Brothers, Little Roy and Lizzy, Jason Crabb, Tammy Sullivan, Doyle Lawson, Dottie Rambo, Archie Watkins, Dr. Jerry Goff and Little Jan Buckner-Goff, the Perrys, the Anchormen, and others.
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/3MG0QvlySiY
In addition to “Keep ‘Em Smilin’, and his popular Americana CD with Heat co-star Alan Autry “Mississippi Moon,” Randall Franks and Crimson Records have released over 100 of his most popular instrumental fiddle tunes from albums such as “Golden River Fiddlin’,” “Peach Picked Fiddle Favorites,” and “Pick of the Peaches Fiddlin’;” bluegrass and folk recordings from “Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill,” and three of his earliest recordings “Early Gospel Favorites,” “Early Bluegrass Recordings,” and “Down at Raccoon Creek 1985;” and many of his Christian music hits from “Handshakes and Smiles,” “Sacred Sounds of Appalachia,” and “God’s Children.” Download music at http://www.nimbitmusic.com/randallfranks.
“For those who may want to download some of my earlier hits and recordings never available to add to your playlist before, this is a perfect chance,” Franks said. “I hope folks will enjoy listening back to the music created through the years. It features some of the most wonderful musicians and artists from gospel, bluegrass and country music who have shared their talents with me to help make my musical vision.”
Randall Franks signs his latest CD “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” for the youngest member of his fan club Wally O’Donald, 9, of Ringgold, Ga. Wally, also an aspiring musician, joined the fan club at age 6.
In his latest film “Broken,” Randall Franks stars with Soren Fulton and Joe Stevens. His latest book is “Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand.”
To learn more about Randall Franks, visit http://randallfranks.com/; Like him on Facebook Randall Franks Actor/Director; follow on twitter @RandallFranks; or subscribe to RandallFranksTV on YouTube.
Visit shareamericafoundation.org to learn more about the Appalachian musical scholarship charity to which Franks gives his time.
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Share America Foundation. Inc.
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