Tribute on her 75th Birthday
With the moniker 'legend' being thrown around a little loosely of late, it's good to back to 'first principles'. Albertina Walker, for example. The Queen of Gospel.
Gospelflava.com offers this tribute on the occasion of Albertina Walker's 75th Anniversary.
Born in Chicago on August 29, 1929, Albertina Walker began singing at the West Point Baptist Church at an early age, and joined several Gospel groups, beginning with The Pete Williams Singers, who came directly out of West Point Baptist.
Walker then moved on to join other groups, including The Robert Anderson Singers. Walker's anchoring contralto proved to be a force to be reckoned with for decades to come, at once warm and inviting on solo forays, and with a resilience hard to match in a group setting.
In the 1950's, Walker founded The Caravans, bringing with her fellow vocalists from The Robert Anderson Singers (Ora Lee Hopkins, Elyse Yancey and Nellie Grace Daniels). The group soon became one of the most popular and esteemed Gospel groups of the time, and a fluctuating membership brought in now-famous names such as James Cleveland, Bessie Griffin, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews, Loleatta Holloway and Cassietta George, The Caravans continued into the mid 1960's, setting the standard for high profile Gospel.
The Caravans quickly disbanded after Shirley Caesar left the group to pursue solo ministry in 1965. Walker herself soon entered the solo phase of her musical ministry.
In the mid 1970's, Walker signed with Savoy Records and then Benson, Word, A&M and others, recording a series of solo projects, many of them with big church choirs, including The Evangelical Choir, The Cathedral of Love Choir, The Metro Mass choir, and her own church choir, The West Point Choir. She also recorded several projects together with James Cleveland two of Gospel's biggest names being an irresistible draw.
Catch a visual discography of Albertina Walker. It's only partial!|
Click for visual discography.
These albums yielded multiple Gold records and Grammy nominations, culminating with the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for Songs of the Church, Live in Memphis on Benson Records.
Walker's inviting vocal presence continued to be in demand in the late 1980's and into the 1990's, as she appeared on innumerable projects as a guest artist, including projects from The Gospel Music Workshop of America, Dorothy Norwood, Kenton Rogers, Allen & Allen, The GMWA Announcer's Guild, The Canton Spirituals, Jeff Majors and Bill Gaither.
Through all the accolades, press, fame and attention, Albertina Walker has remained consistent in her devotion to the Body of Christ, earning the respect of not only those who remember her in her heyday, but also the new generation in Gospel music, who recognize devotion, dedication and perseverance.
Happy birthday, Albertina Walker!!
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—Stan North —
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