I was born in Seminole, which is about sixty miles north of Odessa, and I started first grade in Abilene. We moved around because Daddy was a driller, and by the end of the third grade, we had moved to Odessa. One night this gospel quartet came to town, the Blackwood Brothers. My aunt Nell went up to James Blackwood at intermission and said, “I’ve got three nephews who can outsing all of y’all.” And Blackwood said, “Well, bring ’em up here.” We had to get a Dr Pepper box because Rudy couldn’t even reach the microphone. Rudy fell off, but we hit a high note at the end and stole the show. That night Blackwood said, “If I lived in this town and had a TV or radio show, these Gatlin brothers would be on it every week.” It made the paper, and soon Slim Willet called and put us on his TV show. That’s exactly how it happened.
Larry Gatlin graduated from Odessa High School and attended the University of Houston on a football scholarship. He won a Grammy in 1976 for “Broken Lady” but is perhaps best known as a member of the Gatlin Brothers. This month he will be in Austin starring in The Music Man.