In 1961, Randy Sparks gathered together ten singers and musicians to record his songs for Columbia Records. Columbia wanted to tour the group and The New Christy Minstrels were formed. Sparks was the chief songwriter and group leader keeping the sound consistent, even as members came and went. The group’s debut album, Presenting The New Christy Minstrels: Exciting New Folk Chorus, won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Chorus. The Grammy win helped drive the album up the charts, coupling with a year-long contract to appear on Andy Williams’ TV show and performances onstage at the Troubadour in Los Angeles to solidify the mainstream popularity of The New Christy Minstrels. Sparks stopped performing with the Minstrels to focus on his songwriting (creating or co-writing hits including “Green, Green” and “Today”) and eventually left the group altogether, although, as its creator, maintaining majority financial responsibility. He now lives on a ranch in California, touring occasionally with former Minstrels and new group members as Randy Sparks & The Minstrels.
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- Washington County (1970)
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