The gospel part of the music business is quite different from other parts of the music business. While there is gospel radio, there aren’t really gospel clubs—gospel clubs are churches. So the way you get performances is mostly by personal connections or trading favors. When you made a gospel record, some of them may have ended up in record stores, but most of them were sold at shows. Gospel was very regional and relational, not benefiting from the support structures you had with other genres. Gospel acts really had to resort to their wiles to succeed and survive.
The head of the Floyd Family was Albert Floyd, a former farmer turned contractor who formed a gospel group with his children and neighbors. Albert has to be one of the most intelligent people we’ve met. Starting from nothing but his natural intellect, he became a successful businessman and led a successful gospel troupe that recorded for one of the major gospel labels, Savoy. He promoted shows in his home town of Monroe, Georgia and with The Floyd Family Singers would travel throughout the southeast.
One of the superstar pastors of the 60’s and 70’s was Reverend Ike, an early TV evangelist. Reverend Ike preached about God and money. His television show was incredibly popular, and Albert wanted his family group to perform on it. So during one of Reverend Ike’s visits to the south, Alfred sent his youngest son to stand near the stage and hold a $100 bill. Albert instructed the boy to hold it flat so that the reverend would see it. When Ike noticed the $100 bill at the front of the stage he came over and asked “Who is this young man?” “I’m Keith Floyd, a member of the Floyd Family Gospel Singers and we want to appear on your show.” So Ike, taking the $100, said “I’ll have my people take down your information.” And next time Reverend Ike was in Georgia they contacted the Floyds and asked them to perform.