Albertina Walker
Memorial (2010)

Albertina Walker passed away on October 8, 2010 at the age of 81, after an illness. Known as The Queen of Gospel, Albertina Walker grew up in the South side of Chicago, and began her gospel music career in her early 20s, joining notable gospel groups including The Pete Williams Singers, The Willie Webb Singers, and The Robert Anderson Singers before forming The Caravans in 1951.

In the 1970s, she established herself as a solo artist, garnering a Grammy in 1995. Walker was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001. She was active up until the time of her passing, and seldom missed an opportunity to attend functions.

GOSPELflava.com was honoured to speak with Albertina Walker in a 2006 interview, where she shared several of her memories. She recalled that there was "a time in the '70s that I was going to hang up my hat and retire. I had made up in my mind that I was not going back on the road. James Cleveland flew to Chicago (he was living in Los Angeles at the time) and came straight to my house. He told me, oh no, there is no way that I am going to let you sit on all this talent that God has given you. We are going into the studio and we are going to do an album....

You can read the full interview we had with The Queen, here.

GOSPELflava.com spoke with several in the Gospel music community, and asked them to share their memories of Albertina Walker:

"Joshua instructed the children of Israel to mark the way that led to the land that had been promised with stones. When the people asked why they should follow these
Albertina Walker Links
Albertina Walker --in the front-- as a member of The Caravans

Here are some other Albertina Walker links on GOSPELflava.com:
instructions, Joshua answered '...and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.' The Queen of Gospel, Albertina Walker, certainly laid the stones for us to follow. Her life, her music and her dedication to God left a memorial that will mark the way for generations to come. " — Dr. Margaret Pleasant Douroux

"I heard of Albertina's passing, and was so sorry to hear the news. She and I were so close for many years having worked together. I always considered her to be a Godmother to me, and she would always whisper something really sweet and kind in my ear whenever I would see her. We both had so much love and respect for each other. When my now 12 year old son Trey was born, I made her his honorary Godmother too; she would always ask me about him. I have so many wonderful and fond memories of Albertian and the great work that we did together. I am so proud to have had the tremendous opportunity to work closely with such a giant and legend in Gospel music. I absolutely consider it "the" highlight of my career. Her place in the history books of Gospel music will continue to be far reaching, and her legacy will live on forever." —Tara Griggs-Magee (former Vice-President and General Manager, Verity Records)

"It has been such a pleasure, a joy & an honor to have had the opportunity to work with the Queen Of Gospel, Albertina Walker, on so many occasions. She was the epitome of excellence and grace, both as a performer and as a lady. There was always laughter when being around her, she was straight forward and knew how she wanted her work to be. It's hard to sum up a person of great stature in a couple of lines, so I'll just end by saying, she was without question the QUEEN. Gone but never forgotten. Love U Tina..." —Ralph T. Lofton, Jr. (producer, instrumental artist)

"As I reflect on the passing of the Queen of Gospel, I was reminded of the power of simple kindness. Albertina Walker was one of the kindest gospel greats I've ever met. There was never a time or place that I saw her that she wasn't the same beautiful, warm person. As gifted as she was, her gift was matched by her genuine kindness toward others. Thank God for her life, music and legacy. WE WILL MISS YOU QUEEN!" —Roz Patton, Principal Renaissance Creative Management

Albertina Walker"One of my fondest memories is talking to Albertina after she had had a chance to "live" with "I'm Still Here" (the record was out and she was traveling across the country singing it). Albertina told me that she more than likely wouldn't have to record again because that one song had a far greater impact than all of the hits and misses she had over the extent of her career. While I was standing there feeling proud of my accomplishments, she turned it around and made it a humbling moment when she told me that while she was giving me the credit, she was giving God the glory, and that has become the very apex of my ministry. Quite naturally, anyone would love the applause, to have their name called and be recognized by their peers for the work that they have done but the things that we do should be to the glory of God. Albertina Walker was a crown jewel and I was glad that the Lord saw fit to let me share in her life and work." —V. Michael McKay, songwriter ("I'm Still Here")

"Albertina was a great lady, a great artist and a great friend. I was blessed to share some great musical moments with her as producer of some of her greatest hits, "Please Be Patient With Me" "I Can Go To God In Prayer" "Spread The Word". I got a chance to work with her and The Caravans on the Paved the Way project, writing and producing "God Fixed It". I will miss my friend, Tina." —Rev. Milton Biggham

"Albertina Walker... The Queen of Gospel Singers... I'm grateful to say that and also to have known and worked with her. Albertina's recordings of my compositions, "I Can Go To God In Prayer", "Spread the Word", "Wait On The Lord", "Thank You For One More Day" and others, will live forever to God's glory! Many artists have recorded "I Can Go To God In Prayer", but Tina set the standard! She was the Best... and she paved the way for so many of us... from Rev. James Cleveland; ALL of the Caravans; myself included! She was always gracious and it was those characteristics that made her greatness stand out. Long live the Queen!!! I Love you Tina! I believe that Spirit never dies! She has made her transition into the presence of the Lord. There she will walk around heaven all day and live on in a building not made by hand..." —Calvin Bridges (singer, musician and composer)

"As I was in the car en route to O'Hare airport, my telephone rang. It was a call that no one wants to get; Momma Tina had made her transition... Wow. As the tears flowed, I thought about the impact that she's had on millions, and how she paved the way for most of us that do anything related to Gospel Music. Although the breadth and scope of her ministry speaks for itself, I speak as one whose life was never the same after she came into it; she mentored me, advised me, afforded opportunities for me to use my gift and gave me local and national platforms when others seemed not to notice. It is because of her that Visions-A Choral Ministry became one of the most sought-after background vocal studio artists; the glass ceiling was broken for me as it relates to "The Business", she even encouraged me to step into the arena of music production. These are all remarkable things, however, what I cherish the most and what I will miss the most is the talks and the "just because" calls; being the recipient of her annual "cleaning out the closet" day (girl, I don't care if these shoes don't fit... put a pad in them!!), and ALWAYS giving it to me STRAIGHT when I asked for advice. Momma Tina, your legacy and your dream of a day that you walked us through in song will live on forever... especially through me." —Rose Harper aka "Rosie" Visions - A Choral Ministry

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feature by GOSPELflava.com Staff

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