The Silver Eagle idles in the parking lot next door to Life Temple in Madisonville, Kentucky. Madisonville's most famous family is about to get aboard. It's early Thursday afternoon, and the Happy Goodmans are preparing to get on the road, as they do every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the year. America's number onee gospel singing group is booked two years in advance, and their concerts carry them from the Mexican border to the cold climes of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 0 Happy Day Jamie Buckingham presents a behind-the-scenes account: of what it's like to be the best-known gospel singers in America. He traveled with the Goodmans off and on for almost a year, riding, sleeping, and eating aboard the Silver Eagle, the huge, three-bedroom, sixtythousand-dollar, custom-made bus that carries the ten-member entourage. He worked with them behind stage, setting up sound equipment; he listened to their stories; and he observed the response of thousands of Goodman fans as they thronged coliseums, parks; concert halls, churches. and auditoriums to participate in an evening of gospel music with the Happy Goodmans. But, says Jamie Buckingham, things haven't always been this way. And to get the story straight, one has to hear it from Howard "Happy" Goodman. In his own words he takes the reader back many years to the poverty-stricken coal mining hills of north Alabama. There. at the close of World War I, Sam and Gussie Goodman started raising a family. Their first son was called Willie Howard, and that's where the story begins.
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