Mark V Studios, The “Sound of The South”
The Upstate of South Carolina is where the land begins to roll and build up to the Great Smokies. Greenville is the area’s big town. For a time, it was the textile capital of the world. Greenville’s “mill hill” neighborhoods have housed textile workers, baseball players, guitar strummers, truck drivers, cotton pickers, jail birds and preachers since the mills first opened in the late 19th Century.
The textile workers filtered in from the fields and hollows and brought their music with them, some of it sacred, some profane. Folk and blues pioneers like Josh White, Reverend Gary Davis and Pink Anderson arose from Upstate mill towns. Gospel greats like the Statesmen’s Hovie Lister and the Dixie Hummingbirds where nurtured in Upstate churches.
In 1961 a group of guitar playing brothers and a local disc jockey set up a studio to catch the sounds coming out of the churches and honky-tonks around Greenville. Mark V Studios became one of the premier gospel studios and record labels in the country, nurtured a cast of studio musicians into seasoned pros and recorded a motley assortment of records ranging from the staid to the bizarre.
This blog is an archive of the history of Mark V Studios and the music that was made there.
-Jack Andrew Hines