John Daniel Quartet
circa 1942 - Back row (l-r): John Daniel, Troy Daniel, Percy White (studio engineer), Wally Fowler, Jes McCurdy
Seated: Gordon Stoker
John Daniel Quartet (1930s-????)
The John Daniel Quartet bridged the gap between the songbook selling groups of the 1930/40s and the radio groups of the 1950s/60s, paving the way for the popular quartets of the 1960s/70s.
The group was formed by John Daniel and his brother Troy in the mid-1930s along with Carl Rains and E C Littlejohn. Before the group was formed, the Daniel brothers had sung together in a family group with their sisters Mary and Orna.
The John Daniel Quartet was affiliated with the A J Showalter publishing company initially. The group later became a Vaughan quartet, and then, they moved on to represent Stamps-Baxter. Unlike most of the groups on the songbook company's roster, the John Daniel Quartet sometimes sang popular hits in addition to the gospel music in the songbooks they were selling.
While they were still affiliated with Stamps-Baxter, the group began singing on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. At this time, the group included the Daniel brothers singing tenor and lead, Wallace Fowler at baritone, Carl Rains at bass and Albert Williams playing piano. In 1942, the John Daniel Quartet parted ways with Stamps-Baxter, but continued their association with WSM. That connection eventually opened the door for them to sing on the Grand Ole Opry, making them the most widely heard gospel quartet on radio in the mid-1940s.
A number of well-known performers got their start with the John Daniel Quartet. Some of these men include Bill Lyles (Blackwood Brothers), Jake Hess (Statesmen), Gordon Stoker (Jordanaires) and Tommy Fairchild (Oak Ridge Quartet).
Over the years, the group recorded on several labels including Bama, Bullet, Daniel (their in-house label), Liberty and Columbia. Daniel also published several songbooks. At various times during their history, they were alternately billed as the Vaughan-Daniel Quartet, the Daniel Stamps-Baxter Quartet and the Daniel Family.