Cover photo for Marvin "Big Ernie Soul" Earnest Gibson's Obituary
Marvin "Big Ernie Soul" Earnest Gibson Profile Photo

Marvin "Big Ernie Soul" Earnest Gibson

August 21, 1944 — April 1, 2023

Marvin "Big Ernie Soul" Earnest Gibson

Marvin “Big Ernie Soul” Earnest Gibson, 79, from Sylvester GA, took the hand of Jesus on Saturday April 1, 2023, peacefully at home surrounded with family by his side.  Big Ernie, born August 21, 1944, in Miller County, GA to the late James Leslie and Geneva Ruth Gibson of Albany.  He was one of seven children.

 

Big Ernie was the Soul Sound of the South.  His musical roots began at home and later in the church that he grew up in, Putney, with his siblings.  He began his professional music career at the age of fifteen, playing the guitar in the nightlife in the nineth grade. He was hooked, and never went back to school.  Gibson traded in his guitar for a keyboard, and by 1965, he was the front man for Big Ernie Soul Band, a six-man group dug deep in the southern soul roots of Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and Wilson Pickett.  The list of Gibson’s musical peers in the region around that time was long and included Curtis Gordan, a Hall of Fame rockabilly star and song writer; The John Hall Trio with Big Ernie on the drums; and the Simpson Brothers, working the top 40. Music is all he has ever known, and his true love is the oldies.  As he always began his first set, his foot in rhythm, the smooth, soulful voice filling the room, his “oh Yeah” coming easily while keeping the beat of the drum.  He stated that “I’m in charge of the good times in Albany and have been for 50 plus years.” He played many venues all across this nation, from Alaska to New York.

 

Gibson made his way back to Albany, and met longtime friend Danny Fallin, who he played with over the next four decades. Gibson went to Nashville in 1986 to record his solo record album. He had a record listed on the Cashbox magazine Hot 100, “Forever Feelings”, which debuted at No. 83 and went to No. 55 and the follow-up “We Don’t Do That Anymore” climbed as high as No. 60.  Big Ernie Soul said, “. I wouldn’t take nothing for this life, and when I die, I want to be remembered not as a singer, not as a musician, but as an entertainer.  There’s a helluva difference.”

 

Big Ernie is survived by his wife of 38 years, Cynthia Gibson.  His daughters, Gina (Scott) Chambers of Tifton, GA, Mandy (Lamar) Grizzle of Dahlonega, son Jason Daniel of Dothan, AL, grandchildren and the love of his life, Kaitlyn (Johnathon) Salter Lawson of Columbus, GA, Emily Salter (fiancé, Trevor Foster) of Alpharetta, GA, and Daniel Grizzle of Dahlonega, Jared Grizzle of Dahlonega, Caroline (Clay) VanArsdale of Valdosta, GA, and Sam Chambers of Funston, GA and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sibling brothers Bill Gibson, Hank Gibson, Jim Gibson, and sister, two days prior to his death, Joan Gibson Erstling.

 

A celebration of life service will be held at Life Christian Center, 1225 4th Ave, Albany on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Visitation with the family will be held one hour prior to the service.

 

In lieu of flowers those desiring may make donations to Best Friends Humane Society, 787 Ephesus Church Road, Poulan, GA 31781.

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marvin "Big Ernie Soul" Earnest Gibson, please visit our flower store.

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