October 15, 2010 (CHICAGO) - Aretha Franklin, the 'Queen of Soul' sang her respects Friday to Chicago's Albertina Walker, the 'Queen of Gospel'. Franklin joined family, friends and others remembering Walker at her funeral. Albertina Walker was a Grammy award-winning singer whose career spanned six decades. Gospel music filled a South Side church for several hours as those who knew and loved Walker paid their final respects. By the hundreds they came to the church that despite her fame she would not forsake, the relatively small West Point Baptist Sanctuary where Albertina Walker ministered through music and scholarship. Walker took her genre-defining gospel style to the road in the early 1950s - and with her group, the Caravans, she popularized a music its practitioners said one did not sing for money. 'After hearing them at church I began buying their records, and I used to lie down in my room and listen to the Caravans records until the grooves were white,' said Franklin.
Oct 17, 2010 A very un-Christian moment occurred during last week's musical tribute to Gospel music legend Albertina Walker when a nephew of the late 'Queen of Gospel. You are welcome to tour the web site, for it contains the rich history of the Queen of Gospel Music Albertina Walker. So Spread the Word, if you.
Walker was a Civil Rights-era pioneer who hoped to unite Americans as she uplifted her African-American community through song. Many characterized her life as a gift 'She was a pioneer first of all. She was one of those blazed trails across this country when we had the gospel circuit,' said Bishop Al Hobbes, National Gospel Announcers Guild. 'It enabled the African-American community to continue to have that pride in that one place called the church where they could be whatever they needed to be.' 'Albertina is always in our hearts. Lord Keep me day by day - that was one of her songs and our faith teaches us that Albertina is in heaven and she's keeping us day by day,' said Gov. Walker's godchild, the daughter of a member of the Caravans, said Friday's going home ceremony caps a life that will never be forgotten.
'She has always encouraged and motivated and inspired me,' said Dana Morgan. 'The Bible said you train up a child in the way you think they should go and what they owe, and she trained me in excellence, and I am so thankful for that.' Walker was 81 and suffered from respiratory failure. She was born in Chicago in 1929.
Her Caravans were the launching point for so many gospel greats, including the incomparable James Cleveland. Her Grammy came in 1995 for Best Traditional Gospel Album, 'Songs of the Church.' Walker recorded more than 60 albums in her career, packing churches and concert halls across the country. When she was just 22-years old, Walker started her own singing group called The Caravans. 'We have lost an American icon,' said President Barack Obama.
Camille Coleman Walker
The Caravans’ first big hit, “Mary Don’t You Weep,” helped make them the most popular gospel group in the United States, with hits like “I Won’t Be Back,” “Show Me Some Sign,” “Sweeping Through the City,” “No Coward Soldier,” and Ms. Walker’s great signature song, “Lord Keep Me Day by Day.” They became known not only for hit songs but also for incubating future stars like Delores Washington, Cassietta George and Dorothy Norwood.
Beginning in the 1970s Ms. Walker performed as a soloist with a variety of church choirs as her backup. Her first solo venture, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” released in 1975, was followed by more than 50 albums, including “I Can Go to God in Prayer” and “Joy Will Come.” Photo. Albertina Walker at the White House in 2002. Credit Doug Mills/Associated Press “Songs of the Church: Live in Memphis” won a in 1995 for the Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album, and in 2001 she was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
President GeorgeW. Bush honored Ms.
Walker for her contribution to gospel music in a White House ceremony in 2002. Albertina Walker, known as Tina, was born on Aug. 29, 1929, on the South Side of Chicago, where she lived her entire life. She was the youngest of nine children. At the age of four she was singing with the youth choir of the West Point Baptist Church, under the direction of Pete Williams, and before long was performing with the Williams Singers. By 17, she was singing with Anderson. Anderson, although blessed with a top-quality voice himself — he played king to Mahalia Jackson’s queen — made a practice of sharing the spotlight with his best singers, Ms.
Walker chief among them. She followed his example as leader of the Caravans, stepping aside and letting her top performers shine.
In the early years, singers came and went. All the original members except Ms. Walker left the Caravans within a few years after it was founded. The early recordings, on the States label, featured tight harmonies and a sweet sound. Bil Carpenter, in “Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia,” notes that with the arrival of Bessie Griffin in 1953, the sound became much more dynamic — rhythmically precise with a sharp attack and earthy harmonies.
Although popular, the group struggled in the years before “Mary Don’t You Weep,” touring churches all over the United States but earning relatively little money. “We would put five to six dollars in the gas tank, drive all the way to New York or Mississippi,” Ms. Walker told magazine in 2009. “We would pack into one car, nobody had a problem with it either. We would probably make $150 singing, but we would share our rewards and the money would pay a lot of bills back then.” Ms. Walker can be heard in her prime on the album “The Best of the Caravans” (Savoy), and on the CD and DVD compilation “How Sweet It Was: The Sights and Sounds of Gospel’s Golden Age” (Shanachie), which includes the previously unreleased Caravans song “The Angels Keep Watching Over Me.” With the arrival of a new crop of young singers — Ms.
Washington, Ms. Norwood and Ms. Caesar — that Ms. Walker allowed free rein, the Caravans embarked on a hot streak that continued until 1966, when Ms.
Caesar and Ms. Anderson left the group. Walker kept the Caravans going for a time, bringing in the future disco star Loleatta Holloway, but in the 1970s struck out on her own. Correction: October 13, 2010 An obituary on Saturday about the gospel singer Albertina Walker misstated a word in the title of a book about gospel music by Anthony Heilbut. It is “The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times” (not “Hard Times”).
The obituary also misstated the name of a song that was a hit for Ms. Walker and her group, the Caravans. It is “I Won’t Be Back (Sweeping Through the City).” They did not have separate songs called “I Won’t Be Back” and “Sweeping Through the City.” The obituary also referred incorrectly at one point to the singer Inez Andrews as Ms.