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Great Speckled Bird
The Sullivan Family

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About the video

The Sullivan Family performing "The Great Speckled Bird".

About the artists

From St. Stephens, Alabama, The Sullivan Family was the first band to use the
term "bluegrass gospel" to describe their music. It originally included Arthur,
Margie, Aubrey, Enoch and Emmett Sullivan.

The Sullivan Family, a bluegrass/gospel group who have played extensively on
the festival circuit, were known for their distinctive, driving beat and the robust
singing of Margie Sullivan. The trio was founded by Enoch and Emmett Sullivan,
both of whom were born in the Tombigbee Valley in southern Alabama. The sons
of a minister, the brothers grew up with a love of gospel music; they also liked
string-band music and were influenced by Bill Monroe and Johnnie & Jack. Born
in northern Louisiana, Margie also grew up influenced by the traditional
bluegrass singers she heard on the radio. In addition to Monroe's music, she
was also influenced by such female singers as Wilma Lee Cooper and Molly
O'Day. After touring with evangelist Hazel Chain, she met Enoch at a revival in
1949; they married and bought a farm near St. Stephen, Alabama.

As a group, the Sullivans started out playing in local churches and then
appeared on a local radio station in Picayune, Mississippi. In 1950, they moved
to a station in Jackson, Alabama and six years later moved to Thomasville. In
1959, they made their recording debut for Revival and later that year were
befriended by Walter Bailes, on whose Loyal Records they recorded for many
years. The Sullivans primarily performed at churches, on television, and on
radio. Longtime friends of Bill Monroe, the Sullivans began playing at his various
bluegrass festivals in 1968 and soon gained a whole new following. Over the
years, the band has included other family members, including father Arthur,
uncle Jerry, and Margie's youngest daughter Lisa.

The band continued to perform and record on different American and Canadian
labels through the '80s up to the mid-'90s.