July 9, 2003 |
Catherine "Kitty" Parham, 78, a gospel singer and choir director whose long career included international tours as a member of the Clara Ward Singers and the Stars of Faith, died of heart disease and heat stress June 27 at home in West Philadelphia. Miss Parham was found in her home by her pastor, the Rev. Robert L. Hargrove of the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. The home's windows were closed and the air conditioner was not turned on, according to Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
December 28, 2012
ST. LOUIS - Fontella Bass, a St. Louis-born soul singer who hit the top of the R&B charts with "Rescue Me" in 1965, has died. She was 72. Bass died Wednesday night at a St. Louis hospice of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said. Bass had also suffered a series of strokes over the past seven years. Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s.
February 3, 2012
Singer David Peaston, 54, who had a string of R&B hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died Wednesday of complications from diabetes, said a niece, Neuka Mitchell. Mr. Peaston was born into a St. Louis family with deep musical roots. His mother, gospel singer Martha Bass, was one of the Clara Ward Singers. An older sister, Fontella Bass, is a noted singer whose single "Rescue Me" reached No. 1 on the R&B charts. His highest-charting song was "Two Wrongs (Don't Make It Right)
December 28, 2012
Fontella Bass, 72, a St. Louis-born soul singer who hit the top of the R&B charts with "Rescue Me" in 1965, died Wednesday at a St. Louis hospice of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, her daughter, Neuka Mitchell, said. Ms. Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots; her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. She began singing in her church's choir at age 6. Her interest turned from gospel to R&B when she was a teenager, and she began her professional career at the Showboat Club in St. Louis at age 17. She eventually auditioned for Chess Records and landed a recording contract, first as a duet artist.
July 9, 1994
For once, Rolling Stone got something right. Marion Williams was the greatest singer of all. And Rolling Stone said exactly that. It was her deep religious faith that kept her in gospel music throughout her long musical career. She sang praise to the Lord and that was quite enough. She was never tempted to go into more lucrative secular music and be a star like, say, Sam Cooke. That was a blessing to all lovers of gospel, this country's greatest music for real people.
February 3, 2012 |
ST. LOUIS - Singer David Peaston, who had a string of R&B hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has died, his family said yesterday. Peaston, 54, died Wednesday of complications from diabetes, his niece Neuka Mitchell said. Peaston was born into a St. Louis family with deep musical roots. His mother, gospel singer Martha Bass, was one of the Clara Ward Singers. His older sister, Fontella Bass, is a noted singer whose single "Rescue Me" reached No. 1 on R&B charts and No. 4 on pop single charts in 1965.
July 5, 1994 |
Gospel music luminary Marion Williams, whose song styling was borrowed by Aretha Frankiln and Little Richard, and who was the first singer to win a MacArthur Fellowship - the so-called "genius" award - died Saturday of vascular disease. She was 66 and lived in North Philadelphia. Williams toured Europe and Africa; she sang on cruise ships, at colleges, in nightclubs and in stadiums. She shared stages with Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis. Rolling Stone magazine called her "possibly the best singer of all. " Yet, the soft-spoken North Philadelphia church mother flatly rejected secular singing offers and opted to lead a modest, low-profile life, singing the praises of her Lord.
October 4, 1992 |
Though it accounts for less than 5 percent of the recorded-music market, gospel has been rediscovered by major labels in the last few years. Huge corporations, such as Epic and Warner Bros., known for their hitmakers, are quietly working to satisfy demand for both new projects and reissued classics. And mighty independents, such as Malaco, which dominates the gospel charts, are transferring older titles to compact disc. This abundance of choices makes it possible to build a widely varied gospel library, one that reaches back to Mahalia Jackson and also covers the funky, souped-up contemporary choirs.
January 26, 1993 |
He was called "black America's Irving Berlin. " But maybe Berlin should have been known as "white America's Thomas Dorsey" - that's how prolific and important he was to the world of gospel. Thomas Andrew Dorsey, who died over the weekend at the age of 93, wrote more than 1,000 gospel songs and at least as many blues tunes before that. His evolution from juke-joint pianist to gospel pioneer represented a resolution of the artistic and personal conflicts he faced as a young man - the conflict between the sacred and the secular, the African American and the European.
July 9, 1994 |
The air conditioning was broken. It was oppressively hot. And yet hundreds of friends, fans and family of gospel great Marion Williams came together last night to celebrate her life and the joyful and resilient music she embodied. "We come to rejoice in a life that spread the gospel," local gospel singer Robert Preston told the gathering. More than 300 people swayed and sang and recited the name of God inside the B.M. Oakley Memorial Temple in North Philadelphia. They sang such melodies as "Nearer my God to Thee" and "We'll Understand It Better By and By. " At times, the faithful roared as one, reaching an epiphany of sound that seemed to lift the roof.