Tag Archives: anthony heilbut

Mahalia Jackson – Moving On Up a Little Higher

Mahalia Jackson Moving On Up a Little Higher Shanachie / Spirit Feel (release date: September 30, 2016) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Moving On Up a Little Higher may well be the finest collection of Mahalia Jackson selections ever released, and ranks among Anthony Heilbut’s best produced music projects to date. It’s certainly the most historic gathering of Mahalia’s work. When I say this CD of 22 previously unreleased tracks covers 1946 to 1957, hardcore traditional gospel music fans will know what I mean. This is the Queen of Gospel Music in her prime—no Mitch Miller, no Percy Faith. Better yet, the ...

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Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters

Various Artists Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters The Sirens (release date: July 11, 2016) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Those who think traditional gospel music is dead, hapless victim of today’s P&W and urban AC influences in sacred music, The Sirens’ new release, Lift Me Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters, is proof that the music of Thomas Dorsey and Roberta Martin is as alive and bracing as ever. On August 20, 2015, The Sirens Records owner Steven B. Dolins brought together a battery of the city’s leading keyboard artists and singers: Pastor Bryant Jones, Richard Gibbs, Elsa Harris, Lavelle Lacy, ...

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

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 ...

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RIP: Professor Alfred E. Miller – “One of the First – One of the Last”

ONE OF THE FIRST – ONE OF THE LAST Professor Alfred E. Miller (1927-2015) From Anthony Heilbut, author of The Gospel Sound and The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Excepting pioneer COGIC keyboard artists Arizona Dranes and Elder Charles Beck, Alfred E. Miller was the first pianist on records to play in the modern gospel style. In fact, since he drew his inspiration from Roberta Martin, who more or less invented things, traveling very far from where Dranes and Beck had landed, Miller has a real claim to being the first on record, since Martin herself wouldn’t record for at ...

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RIP Eddie Williams, Gospel Pianist and Songwriter

By Bob Marovich JGM heard from Anthony Heilbut (“The Gospel Sound,” “The Fan Who Knew Too Much”) and gospel singers Ron Barrett and Darryl Reed that gospel songwriter and pianist Eddie Williams passed away. Williams, an accompanist for the Caravans, authored the famous Chicago group’s big hit, “Lord Keep Me Day by Day.” Later, Williams organized the Crusaders, a New York-based group that recorded for Savoy Records. Heilbut reported that Williams was raised in Robbins, Illinois, also the home of singer Delores Washington, whom he introduced to the Caravans. Williams’ piano style, Heilbut added, was “rollicking but subtler…and less heavy-handed” ...

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Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams

Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams Marion Williams Spirit Feel/Shanachie www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich If you thought you’d heard everything Marion Williams recorded, alone or with the Ward Singers or Stars of Faith, think again. In addition to the thirteen hand-picked solo tracks by Williams’s longtime friend and producer, Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound, The Fan Who Knew Too Much), Packin’ Up: The Best of Marion Williams features thirteen previously unreleased tracks. One of the unreleased gems showcases Williams with the Ward Singers at the 1957 Newport Folk Festival.  The cuts span the years 1957 to 1993.  Heilbut’s extensive ...

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Evelyn Starks Hardy Dies; Member of the Original Gospel Harmonettes

By Bob Marovich Anthony Heilbut informed JGM this morning that Evelyn Starks Hardy, an original member of the Gospel Harmonettes, has died. Hardy, along with Mildred Madison Howard and Odessa Edwards, students at Birmingham’s Parker High School, formed the Gospel Harmonettes in 1940. They were among the first female African American gospel groups to sign with a major label (RCA Victor). In 1947, Hardy heard Dorothy Love Coates sing on a radio broadcast and recommended she join the group.  With Coates, the group became national recording and touring stars, one of the leading lights of gospel’s Golden Age. Heilbut notes ...

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Nash Shaffer Jr., Organist, Gospel Announcer, Historian, Passes

JGM received word today from the Chicago Area Gospel Announcers Guild that Bro. Nash Shaffer Jr. passed away after an extended illness. Shaffer’s “Sunday Morning Golden Gospel” radio program was a staple of the Chicago airwaves for many years. His love for, and knowledge of, classic gospel music was limitless. He grew up around the greats and accompanied many of them on organ, sometimes at a moment’s notice. He appeared on the “Jubilee Showcase” television program numerous times and was featured on In The Right Hands (The Sirens Records), along with fellow keyboard wizards Geraldine Gay Hambric and Jessy Dixon. ...

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