Johnny Hines

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This bass singer was born a Tommy but shows up a Johnny on the majority of credits involving the gospel groups he performed with, beginning in the early '40s with the Reliable Jubilee Singers in his hometown…
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This bass singer was born a Tommy but shows up a Johnny on the majority of credits involving the gospel groups he performed with, beginning in the early '40s with the Reliable Jubilee Singers in his hometown of Atlanta and continuing with a longer stint in the Dixieaires. Gospel music being a kissing cousin of doo wop in business practices as well as harmony, it should be pointed out that the latter reference is to the original black gospel group of that name, not the later Southern white gospel group which absconded with the name, breaking one of the Ten Commandments in the process.

The stage name Johnny Hines developed from a nickname and there were some instances where this artist's splendidly low voice is listed properly as Thomas Hines or informally as Tom Hines -- these are all the same performer. He wound up getting dumped in New York City when the Reliable Jubilee Singers proved to be anything but reliable, breaking up in the metropolis and leaving Hines without transportation home. Hines began nibbling on the New York City gospel scene and after tryouts with several other bands he found a slot with the Dixieaires as that group went through a period of shifting allegiance. The new lineup did well through the end of the '40s, at one point launching a tour of 22 states.

In the '50s a rush to the exits began. Hines looked around to see the Dixieaires' regular manager and accompanist part ranks, followed by the group's founder and spiritual director, Caleb Ginyard. The bass singer held down the bottom until the bitter end, then was for a short time in a doo wop and R&B group, the Dominoes.