About The Inspirations

Martin Cook was a high school chemistry and physics teacher at Swain County High School in Bryson City, NC, who loved to sing and play gospel songs. He was the original pianist for the Kingsmen Quartet, and had also played for a regional group called The Silvertones. Around 1964, he began bringing some of his students to the basement of his house, and they would gather around the piano and sing gospel songs into the wee hours of the morning. Among the regular attendees at his home singings were 15 year-old tenor Archie Watkins; 15- year-old lead singer Ronnie Hutchins; 19 year-old baritone Jack Laws; and local bass singer Dean Robinson. With this lineup, the Inspirations Quartet was born. The group began accepting concert dates at churches and functions in the western North Carolina and North Georgia areas, and soon created a loyal local following. When Dean Robinson bowed out in 1966, the quartet hired young 14 year-old bass singer Troy Burns. A few months later, the group recorded their very first album for the Mark V label, entitled Our Pioneer Heritage.