Herbert “Pee Wee” Pickard, Noted Gospel Accompanist, Dies

herbert pickard

Herbert Pickard. Courtesy: YouTube

By Bob Marovich

Traditional gospel music enthusiast Jordan K. Phillips informed JGM that Herbert “Pee Wee” Pickard, noted organist and pianist who accompanied the Gospel Harmonettes, James Cleveland and the Voices of Tabernacle,  and many other gospel artists, passed away today.

Mr. Pickard,  a resident of Detroit, was a child prodigy.  Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound) told JGM recently that as a preteen, Pickard caught the attention of Lionel Hampton around the time that Dinah Washington was the group’s lead singer.  Heilbut laughed that had Pickard joined Hampton and Washington, they would have invented soul music ten years before Ray Charles.

Pickard not only performed for gospel artists, but Heilbut notes that he also played on some Motown Records sides.

HARDY19.... Evelyn Hardy, pianist for the Original Gospel Harmonettes, is shown at 6th Street Baptist Church where she is active in the music programs. She is set to receive yet another honor for her years in music. This is a copy of an original publicity photo for the Original Gospel Harmonettes. ID's as follows: Dorothy Love Coates (top rear) l to r: Mildred Howard, Vera Kolb, Willie Mae Newberry, Evelyn Hardy and Odessa Edwards. Seated at piano: Herbert "PeeWee" Pickard. STAFF PHOTO JEFF ROBERTS: REPORTER GARRISON....

Seated at piano, ca’ 1950s: Herbert “PeeWee” Pickard. Photo credit: Jeff Roberts

Pickard was scheduled to be interviewed for WLUW-FM’s “Gospel Memories” this month, but fell ill before the interview could be conducted.  He entered hospice shortly thereafter.

More information on his homegoing will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, please remember this significant figure in the history of gospel music.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.


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