music clip of the day


Tag: Ira Tucker

Sunday, October 30th

 traveling the gospel highway

“How They Got Over: Ira Tucker” (Robert Clem, dir.)


Sunday, December 14th

old school

Dixie Hummingbirds, We Love You Like a Rock (excerpts), 1995







reading table

You would think that living is a kind of scholarship in time, and that the longer we live the more expert we become at coping with it, in the way that, if you play tennis enough, you get used to coping with faster and faster serves. Instead I find that the longer I live the more bemused I become, and the more impenetrable the subject shows itself to be. I sit on a heap of days.

—Samantha Harvey, Dear Thief (James Wood, “Fly Away,” New Yorker, 12/8/14)


taking a break

I’m taking some time off—back in a while.

Sunday, May 19th

Dixie Hummingbirds (feat. Ira Tucker, lead vocals), “Maybe It’s You,” TV show (TV Gospel Time), early 1960s

Talk about longevity. Ira Tucker joined the Dixie Hummingbirds in 1938, when he was 13. He was still with them in 2008, when he died.

Sunday, 6/24/12

I don’t want to hear nobody but the drums . . .

—Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar (with guests, including Ira Tucker [Dixie Hummingbirds] at 5:30-), “I Feel Like Praising Him,” live




musical thoughts

It’s always difficult to remember what your name is when you’re in the midst of all this music.

 —Daniel Blumin, WFMU-FM, last night’s show

Sunday, 9/4/11

The Dixie Hummingbirds (with Ira Tucker, lead vocals), “If You See My Savior” (T. Dorsey), live (TV broadcast), early 1960s

With a voice like this, who needs words?

(Listen, for instance, at :55 and 1:50.)

More? Here.



listening room: (some of) what’s playing

Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Various artists, Goodbye Babylon (Dust-to-Digital)

Sun Ra, Jazz in Silhouette (Evidence)

Anthony Braxton, For Alto (Delmark)

Fred Anderson, Timeless (Delmark)

• Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello/Steven Isserlis (Hyperion UK [import])

• Alfred Schnittke, Piano Quintet, String Trio, etc. (Naxos)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa) (available as a download from Amazon for 89¢)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Lester Young/Charlie Parker birthday marathon
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)

Sunday, 1/10/10

Who would’ve wanted to follow these guys onstage?

The Dixie Hummingbirds, live, 1966

“Christian’s Automobile”


“I’ve Got So Much To Shout About”



[The Dixie Hummingbirds were] the original spiritual pioneers of song. They set the standard for all to follow by spreading the message of God’s love through quartet singing.—Stevie Wonder


[The Dixie Hummingbirds] are true American heroes. They are what singers and show people and entertainers wish they could be. They’re not just legends. They are heavenly stars.—Solomon Burke


Few singers have held a job longer, or been more revered by audiences and their fellow singers [than the Dixie Hummingbirds’ Ira Tucker, above left].

‘The virtuoso of quartet,’ gospel historian Anthony Heilbut called Tucker.

Blues singers like Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland said they learned at his feet. The Temptations were Tucker disciples, as were hundreds of rhythm and blues vocal groups of the 1950s and 1960s.

James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Al Green and Brook Benton were among the artists who took lessons in lyrical phrasing and stage showmanship from Tucker.

Most famously to pop music fans, Paul Simon used the Hummingbirds on his recording of “Love Me Like A Rock” in 1973. They later recorded it themselves, with Tucker on lead of course, and it won them a Grammy.—David Hinckley

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