Friday, August 03, 2007

The Gospel Rangerettes - He Loves Me

I found this obscure country gospel record by a mother-daughter duo years ago in a small record store in New York City. The near homemade look of it convinced me that it was something I ought to buy. I'm glad I did.

Most of the songs on the album were written by the maternal half of the duo, Elizabeth Van De Venter. For the most part the songs are quite good, with an appealing, primitive quality to them that only enhances Elizabeth's obviously very real passion for her subject.

This is probably one of the more rare records I own. I imagine there weren't many of these pressed, although I did notice someone currently has a copy of this album for sale on eBay (not me, I'm keeping mine). I couldn't find any information about Elizabeth Van De Venter or her daughter Karen on the internet so I can't tell you anything about The Gospel Rangerettes beyond what is printed in the liner notes, which I have transcribed in full:

Elizabeth Van De Venter started singing in church at about age 16 with her aunt, Mrs. J. H. Rosenboom, of Trenton, Mo. It was this aunt who helped her overcome her natural shyness and gave her the desire to work for the Lord.

When Karen, Van's eldest daughter, showed promise at 18 months, Van began to spend many hours rocking and singing to her, bringing her love for song to what it is today. Van neither reads nor writes music, but God has blessed her ministry in song with many songs, some of which are on this record.

Her method of guitar playing is "unusual" being what she calls "only good enough for my own enjoyment." Van and her husband, Herbert, have five children. Their wish is that the message in song in this album will be a blessing to all who hear it.

Karen and her mother have been singing together in public since Karen was about four years old. Her natural ability for harmony became apparent at this age. Karen has traveled over many states, singing for the Lord, and has been on radio, TV, and stage since an early age. Although she is now a married woman, Karen still gives the sparkling appearance of a little girl on the stage, as she stands not quite five feet tall. Her vivaciousness is enjoyed by all that work with her.

She attended Canyonville Bible Institute, where she sang in the choir and trio. Her main aim is to live a life that will inspire others to follow Christ.

B. F. "Lucky" Mason is another boy from Tennessee. He started learning to play the guitar at about 9 years old, and has added to this, the five string banjo, mandolin, Hawaiian and bass fiddle. "Lucky," who has over 20 years announcing experience, is originator and manager of the "Shut-In-Club" program heard over station KVAN in Portland, Ore. The program is now in its fourth year of continuous broadcast. "Lucky" is the author of many songs, some of which have been published.

"Lucky" has that soft, quiet way of the south that makes him a blessing to all. He and his wife, Villa, have five children.

Rev. Roy Sims comes from the state of Washington near the Canadian border in a town called Riverside. Before Roy became a Christian, he rode the Rodeo circuit across the United States. But one day, in Eugene Oregon, while he was in the bucking chutes, the Lord spoke, and Roy gave his heart to God. From that time on, he has preached the gospel, and at one time spent better than two years as missionary to the Tinget Indians in Alaska. He is self-taught in guitar, banjo and mandolin.

Roy's lovely wife, Merle, is a great help and inspiration to him. They have one sweet daughter, Lola Le.

While this is not a record I listen to a lot, I find "Little Bitty Children" stuck in my head more frequently than you might think.


Stan said...

I was pleasantly surprised to find your blog on Van & Karen - "The Gospel Rangerettes". I knew them pretty well when that album was recorded, as I'm the youngest son of "Lucky" Mason, and our families were pretty close. Unfortunately, neither my Dad nor Van are with us any longer, but their legacy lives on in the music they created. Here's Van's obit...

Elizabeth Ione VanDeVenter

April 23, 1928 - Jan. 6, 2009

Elizabeth Ione VanDeVenter died on Jan. 6, 2009, at the age of 80. The cause of death was cancer.

She was born on April 23, 1928, attended the Silverton Assembly of God Church and loved singing and knitting.

She is survived by: husband, Bert VanDeVenter; sons, Victor and Stanley VanDeVenter; daughters, Karen Brown, Nancy Peterson and Laura Meisner; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A funeral was held at the Silverton Assembly of God Church on Jan. 10, 2009.

Arrangements: Restlawn Funeral Home.

Stan Mason

Pete Bilderback said...

Stan, thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. Though I didn't know her, I am saddened to hear of Elizabeth's passing.