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Tag: Claude Jeter

Sunday, September 15th

timeless

What singers did Al Green listen to before he became “Al Green”?

Swan Silvertones (feat. Claude Jeter, 1914-2009), “That Day on Calvary” (C. Jeter), 1957

 

Monday, 12/24/12

passings

Inez Andrews, gospel singer, April 14, 1929-December 19, 2012

Today, remembering her, we revisit some favorite clips.

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6/6/10

Fierce, insistent, soaring—this voice, which I first heard over 30 years ago, still gives me chills.

Inez Andrews

With the Andrewettes, “Let the Church Roll On,” live (TV broadcast), 1964

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With Rev. James Cleveland & the Metro Mass Choir, “We Are Soldiers in the Army,” live, 1981

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“A Stranger in the City,” “He Lives In Me,” “Lord, Don’t Move The Mountain,” “Mary Don’t You Weep,” live, Chicago (Apostolic Church of God), 1988

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lagniappe

The Caravans’ star then was Inez, whom they called the High Priestess. She looks the part. A coffee-colored woman with high Indian cheekbones and an intense, almost drugged stare, she can sing higher natural notes than anyone on the road. Tina [Albertina Walker] said, ‘The rest of us sang awhile, but the folks really wanted to hear Inez whistle.’

—Anthony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times (6th ed. 2002)

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Determination is important. You’ve got to be determined to live what you sing as well as sing what you sing. God understands the . . . difficulty that we go through for the truth. The Bible says your determination will be rewarded because God sees it when no one else does.

Inez Andrews

*****

7/15/12

five takes

“Mary Don’t You Weep” (AKA “O [or Oh] Mary Don’t You Weep”)

The Caravans (feat. Inez Andrews), 1958

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The Swan Silvertones (feat. Claude Jeter), 1959

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Claude Jeter & Shirley Caesar, 1969

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The Caravans (feat. Inez Andrews), c. 2006

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Bruce Springsteen, 2005

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New York Times obituary (12/21/12)

Inez Andrews, whose soaring, wide-ranging voice — from contralto croon to soul-wrenching wail — made her a pillar of gospel music, died on Wednesday at her home in Chicago. She was 83.

The cause was cancer, said her son Richard Gibbs.

“She was the last great female vocalist of gospel’s golden age,” said Anthony Heilbut, author of “The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times” (1971), a history of that era, from the mid-1940s to the early ’60s. Ms. Andrews was known as the “High Priestess,” Mr. Heilbut said, ranking among the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Clara Ward.

Ms. Andrews came to national attention in 1958 with the Caravans, the Chicago gospel group led by Albertina Walker that also nurtured such stars as Shirley Caesar, the Rev. James Cleveland and Bessie Griffin. That year she was the lead singer for what became two of the Caravans’ biggest hits.

One was “I’m Not Tired Yet,” an up-tempo shout song in which she belted out, “I’ve been running for Jesus a long time/No, I’m not tired yet.”

The other was “Mary Don’t You Weep” — a rearrangement, by her, of the old spiritual into a rip-roaring sermonette. It was the Caravans’ first big hit and helped make them one of the nation’s most popular gospel groups. Ms. Andrews was the lead singer on other hits like “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand,” “He Won’t Deny Me” and her own composition, “I’m Willing to Wait.”

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Ms. Andrews began her career with two groups in Birmingham, Ala., her hometown: Carter’s Choral Ensemble and the Original Gospel Harmonettes. By the mid-1950s, the Harmonettes were one of the nation’s top gospel groups, with Ms. Andrews the understudy for the group’s lead singer, Dorothy Love Coates. It was Ms. Coates who recommended Ms. Andrews to the Caravans.

In 1962 Ms. Andrews left the Caravans to start her own group, Inez Andrews and the Andrewettes. They toured the country performing songs like “It’s in My Heart” and her composition “(Lord I Wonder) What Will Tomorrow Bring?” But by 1967 she was touring as a soloist, and in 1973 she recorded her biggest hit, “Lord Don’t Move the Mountain.”

“Lord don’t move the mountain/Give me the strength to climb,” she sang.

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From a seductive, bluesy sound — often singing behind the beat — Ms. Andrews could burst into an impassioned, raspy cry.

“Even in songs of rejoicing, her voice has a somber undertone,” Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times in 1990, “and when she takes on supplicating songs like the midtempo ‘Lord I’ve Tried’ or the glacial minor-key blues of ‘Stand by Me’ — both of which rise, verse by verse, to a near-scream — Ms. Andrews can sound desperate, on the verge of hysteria. Hers is a gospel of terror, and of the relief faith provides.”

Sunday, 8/5/12

Who wouldn’t want to go to such a heaven?

Soul Stirrers (feat. Jimmy Outler), “Listen to the Angels Sing,” TV show, early 1960s

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lagniappe

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide in Black (In the Red)

• Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio (Blue Note)

• Shabazz Palaces, Black Up (Sub Pop)

Terrie Ex, Paal Nilssen-Love, Hurgu! (PNL Records)

• Anthony Braxton Quintet (Basel) 1977 (hatOLOGY)

• Miles Davis, Live in Europe 1967 (Sony Legacy)

• ICP Orchestra Performs Herbie Nichols & Thelonious Monk (ICP)

• George Lewis & The NOW Orchestra, The Shadowgraph Series: Compositions for Creative Orchestra (Spool)

• Misha Mengelberg, Steve Lacy, Goerge Lewis, Harjen Gorter, Han Bennink, Change of Season (Soul Note)

• Pharaoh Sanders, Karma (Impulse!)

• Charles “Bobo” Shaw & Lester Bowie, Bugle Boy Bop (Muse)

• Reverend Claude Jeter, Yesterday and Today (Shanachie)

 This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel On 45 RPM (1957-1982) (Tompkins Square)

• J. Berg’s A Cappella Archives (Vol. 3)Royal Rarities (Vol. 3) (Rare Gospel)

Congotronics 2: Buzz ’n’ Rumble in the Urb n’ Jungle (Crammed Discs)

• Pandit Pran Nath, Midnight: Raga Malkauns (Just Dreams)

• Nikhil Banerjee, Afternoon Ragas  (Bhimpalasri, Multani) (Raga Records)

• John Luther Adams, Songbird Songs (Mode Records)

• John Luther Adams, Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (New World Records)

• John Cage Edition—Vol. 23: The Works for Violin 4 (Irvine Arditti, violin; Stephen Drury, piano) (Mode Records)

• Morton Feldman, Trio  (Aki Takahashi, piano; Marc Sabat, violin; Rohan de Saram, cello) (Mode Records)

• Tristan Murail, Gondwana, Desintegrations, Time and Again (Disques Montaigne)

• Peter Serkin Plays the Music of Toru Takemitsu (RCA/BMG)

• The Incomparable Rudolf Serkin (Beethoven, Piano Sonatas Nos. 30, 31, 32) (Deutsche Grammophon)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

• WFMU-FM

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Fool’s Paradise (Rex; “Vintage rockabilly, R & B, blues, vocal groups, garage, instrumentals, hillbilly, soul and surf”)
Downtown Soulville (Mr. Fine Wine, soul, etc.)

Sunday, 7/15/12

 five takes

“Mary Don’t You Weep” (AKA “O Mary Don’t You Weep”)

The Caravans (feat. Inez Andrews), 1958

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The Swan Silvertones (feat. Claude Jeter), 1959

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Claude Jeter & Shirley Caesar, 1969

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The Caravans (feat. Inez Andrews), c. 2006

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Bruce Springsteen, 2005

Sunday, 4/10/11

Claude Jeter, Inez Andrews, Archie Brownlee, Dorothy Love Coates, this guy: where else can you find so many unforgettable voices?

Soul Stirrers (featuring R. H. Harris), “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (1946)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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lagniappe

When R. H. Harris, the renowned gospel tenor, died last month, I went back to the records he had made in the 1950’s with his quartet, the Soul Stirrers. Harris was the — founder is not too strong a word — of a soul singing that concentrated on supple phrasing and tonal sweetness. He could, as Tina Turner used to say, ”do it rough,” but there was a core of reticence, even melancholy in him. His roughness was strategic.

The Soul Stirrers set the mold for other outstanding quartets like the Swan Silvertones and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and for younger soul singers, from Sam Cooke (trained by Harris) to David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations (Harris had mastered husky rhythm singing and falsetto), and Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye.

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The discipline required of a first-rate ensemble, vocal or instrumental, translates into the kind of musical discretion that comes only from intense on-the-spot listening. Not biding time or doing cute things onstage until your solo comes, but listening. Take melisma (one syllable stretched over many notes), the vocal weapon so battered and abused by pop singers today. Harris was a master of it. For him it was a musical resource, like dynamics or timbre, not a way of muscling listeners to the ground till they screamed and clapped, maybe because they were overpowered, maybe just to stop the madness.

The Soul Stirrers’ a cappella harmonies are deeply satisfying. And when Harris rises above them with his pure, true pitch (pitch is usually the missing element in today’s melisma mania), you will experience true bliss.

—Margo Jefferson, New York Times, 10/2/00

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reading table

The self never ages.

—Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary (trans. Richard Howard, 2010)

Sunday, 11/14/10

MCOTD’s alter ego has a letter in today’s New York Times Book Review.

To the Editor:

In connection with his review of Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat” (“Isn’t It Rich?” Oct. 31), Paul Simon, in the Up Front, says that when he wrote the refrain to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — “Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down” — he had “no idea where those words and melody came from.” It takes nothing away from Mr. Simon to note that one apparent source of inspiration for this line was the Swan Silvertones’ gospel song “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep,” which was released in 1959. That recording, which features the wonderful Claude Jeter on lead vocals, includes the ad-libbed line “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name.” Mr. Simon has previously acknowledged this link.

RICHARD MCLEESE
Oak Park, Ill.

The Swan Silvertones, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” (1959): MP3

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replay: a clip too good for just one day

If influence were compensable, Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones—a huge influence on Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Eddie Kendricks (Temptations), Al Green, even Paul Simon (who took inspiration from a line in the Swans’ “hit” “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” [“I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name”] when he wrote “Bridge Over Troubled Water”)—would have, when he passed earlier this year at the age of 94, died a wealthy man.

Swan Silvertones, “Only Believe,” live

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lagniappe

When he leaves the house [in NYC], he whistles his favorite tune, ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus,’ while greeting the assorted neighborhood junkies and prostitutes who knew him mainly as sometime manager of the [Hotel] Cecil. ‘What’s new, Jeter,’ they ask. ‘Nothing new, nothing good, just thank God for life up here with these heathens and muggers.’

—Anthony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times (1971)

(Originally posted on 9/13/09.)

Sunday, 9/13/09

If influence were compensable, Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones—
a huge influence on Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Eddie Kendricks (Temptations), Al Green, even Paul Simon (who took inspiration from a line in the Swans’ “hit” “Mary, Don’t You Weep” [“I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name”] when he wrote “Bridge Over Troubled Water”)—would have, when he passed earlier this year at the age of 94, died a wealthy man.

Swan Silvertones, “Only Believe,” live

New York Times obit

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lagniappe

“When he leaves the house [in NYC], he whistles his favorite tune, ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus,’ while greeting the assorted neighborhood junkies and prostitutes who knew him mainly as sometime manager of the [Hotel] Cecil. ‘What’s new, Jeter,’ they ask. ‘Nothing new, nothing good, just thank God for life up here with these heathens and muggers.'”—Anthony Heilbut, The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times (1971)

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