Anthony Heilbut reported to TBGB that gospel artist and composer Calvin White died two weeks ago in New York. White was approximately 70 years old.
The name of Calvin White is not well known in gospel circles anymore but that’s a shame, considering his contributions to gospel music.
As Heilbut reports, White was one of the two soloists on the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir’s famous March, 1960 recording “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody” (Madame Margaret Simpson was the other soloist). The recording, reissued on the CD Shaking the Rafters, was selected to represent the gospel choir singing style for the boxed set Voices, which offered aural illustrations of vocal music from around the world.
White was a member of the Gospel Wonders, a New York quartet, and composed “As Long as I’ve Got Jesus.” The Gospel Wonders recorded the song in 1965, but the composition achieved greater fame when it was covered in the same year by James Cleveland and the Cleveland Singers, and in the 1990s by Vickie Winans.
White also appeared with Professor Alex Bradford and Marion Williams in the original company of Black Nativity. He scored a couple of pop hits, too, with a trio called the Sandpebbles, also known as C. and The Shells.