Posts Tagged ‘Roberta Martin Singers’

We Remember James Cleveland

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Gospelflava remembers the King of Gospel, Reverend James Cleveland on what would have been his 81st birthday.  Reverend Cleveland was born on December 5, 1931 in Chicago surrounded by the major gospel influences of all time namely, Thomas Dorsey, the Father of Gospel Music, Roberta Martin, famed gospel composer and Mahalia Jackson. It would be Roberta Martin that a young Cleveland would pattern his playing style after.

Cleveland relocated to Detroit to take on minister of music duties for Reverend CL Franklin (father of Aretha Franklin) and the New Bethel Baptist Church and later the Prayer Tabernacle Church under Reverend Charles Craig Sr.  It was at Prayer Tabernacle that James would record with the Voices of Tabernacle his first hit, The Love of God.

Cleveland signed with Savoy Records and in 1962 began a successful pairing with Reverend Lawrence Roberts and the Angelic Choir of the First Baptist Church of Nutley, NJ.  These albums produced such hits as Christ Is the Answer, So Good, How Great Thou Art, My God Can Do Anything and Peace Be Still.  James would later go on to found the Cornerstone Church in Los Angeles, Ca and his famed Southern California Community Choir and his greatest contribution, the Gospel Music Workshop of America.



Remembering the Life of Little Lucy Smith Collier

Monday, September 20th, 2010


Gospelflava joins with countless others across the country as we acknowledge the passing of Little Lucy Smith Collier on Sunday, September 18th.  Collier came from deeply religious roots as her grandmother, the Elder Lucy Smith, founded Chicago’s All Nations Pentecostal Church.  Elder Smith was one of the nation’s most prominent black ministers and the church’s Sunday night Broadcast was heard across the United States in the 40s. 

Collier became a member of the Roberta Martin Singers during the Golden Age of Gospel, serving as pianist and organist for the group.    Collier’s adeptness on the organ would earn her an instrumental LP on the Savoy label, Little Lucy Smith at the Organ in 1962 (see album cover above).   

In the 90s, Collier joined fellow Martin Singers Eugene Smith, Delois Barrett Campbell, Robert Anderson as well as Donald “Preacher” Gay, Mildred and Geraldine Gay,  Vernon Oliver Price and others on The Soul of Chicago, produced by Anthony Heilbut for Spirit Feel/Shenachie Records.  Earlier this year, Collier was part of the inaugural induction of  Living Chicago Gospel Legends presented by the Gospel Music According to Chicago organization.