Menu
Dixie Hummingbirds
o The Dixie Hummingbirds were influential because over the span of 80 years, they transitioned from the style of jubilee quartet to hard gospel and eclectic pop today. Their lineup consisted of William Bobo, Ira Tucker, James Davis, Beachey Thompson, and James Walker, with Howard Carroll on guitar.
Golden Gate Quartet
o Originally the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, the Golden Gate Quartet began in the 1930s with a group of students at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, VA. In this quartet were Willie Johnson (baritone and narrator), Henry Owens (first tenor) William Langford (second tenor), and Orlandus Wilson (bass).
Fisk Jubilee Singers
o The Fisk Jubilee Singers broke racial barriers in the US and abroad in the late 19th century. They adopted the term “Jubilee” to differentiate themselves from minstrel groups and their repertory. Under the direction of George L. White, the Fisk Jubilee Singers included four black men Isaac Dickerson, Ben Holmes, Greene Evans, and Thomas Rutling.
Sensational Nightingales
o The Sensational Nightingales hit its peak in the 1950s. The group was founded in 1942 by Barney Parks, who had formerly sung with the Dixie Hummingbirds. Members included Julius Cheeks (lead), Carl Coates (bass), JoJo Wallace (tenor), Howard Carroll (baritone), and Paul Gwens (tenor).
Cats and the Fiddle 
o In the 1930s, the Cats and the Fiddle secured the spot as one of the leading R&B vocal & small combo groups. In their music, they included new rhythms and percussion techniques but more popular for the words they used. In this quartet were lead vocalist Austin Powell of the Harlem Harmony Hounds combined with Jimmie Henderson, Chuck Barksdale and Ernie price of another Chicago-based group.
Soul Stirrers
o Indisputably among the premier gospel groups of the modern era, the Soul Stirrers pioneered the contemporary quartet sound. They had a very sexually charged presence, which often blurred the lines between religious and secular music. After its reincarnation, the quartet held bass Jesse Farley, baritone T.L. Bruster, second lead James Medlock, and, most notably, lead R.H. Harris, whose high, crystalline voice remains the inspiration for virtually all great male quartet leads to follow since.
Swan Silvertones
o In 1938, Claude Jeter organized a singing group called the Four Harmony Kings with his brother and two other coal miners. The group sang at nearby churches on weekends. After quitting coal mining and making a move to Tennessee, the group, then consisting of Claude Jeter, John Myles, Leroy Watkins and Eddie Boroughas, changed its name to the Silvertone Singers securing a daily radio program on WDIR.
Five Blind Boys of Alabama
o Six sightless teenage singers—lead Velma Trailer, lead and baritone Clarence Fountain, tenor Tommy Gilmore, baritone and guitarist George Scott, baritone Olice Thomas and basso Johnny Fields—dropped out of the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega in 1944 to pursue a career as a professional gospel group.

Gospel Groups

The Soul Stirrers • Five Blind boys of alabama • The Swan Silverstones • The Dixie Hummingbirds