The original Dixie Hummingbirds performed together for more than 60 years. Beachy Thompson of the Five Gospel Singers and the Willing Four joined the group in 1944, and by World War II’s end the lineup was Tucker (lead), Davis (tenor), Thompson (baritone), and Bobo (bass). They did, however, burst back into the popular consciousness in 1973, backing Paul Simon on his pop smash “Loves Me Like a Rock.” The death of Willie Bobo in 1976 brought to a sad end a lengthy chapter of the Hummingbirds’ history — his membership in their ranks dated back to the late 1930s — but the surviving members forged on; just two years later, Ebony Magazine named them “The World’s Greatest Gospel Group.” After Davis retired in 1984, Tucker was the last remaining link to the quartet’s formative years; despite the subsequent deaths of Walker in 1992 and Thompson in 1994, Tucker continued leading the group at the century’s end, recruiting new blood to keep the Dixie Hummingbirds’ spirit alive for years to follow, celebrating their seventh decade with 1999’s Music in the Air: The 70th Anniversary All-Star Tribute. Upon relocating to Philadelphia in 1942, the Hummingbirds’ popularity began to grow — Tucker, in particular, wowed audiences with his flamboyant theatrics, rejecting the long tradition of “flat-footed” singers rooted in place on stage in favor of running up the aisles and rocking prayerfully on his knees. The Dixie Hummingbirds formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article ... Willie Bobo (cited in past members) was born in 1934, I suspect one of these is wrong — Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.185.103.186 10:29, 14 August 2016 (UTC) The group was formed in Greenville, South Carolina, by James Davis in 1928, a year before the Great Depression. After seeing the success of other quartet groups and realizing that there was not much work for African Americans in the South outside of low-paying labor jobs, the quartet decided to leave school and pursue their dream of being professional spiritual entertainers. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeff Scheftel, and executive produced by University of Hawaii musicologist Jay Junker, the film is now available on DVD, featuring extensive interviews with Ira Tucker, Sr., Abraham Rice, Cornell McKnight, Lyndon Jones, Willie Coleman, Torrey Nettles, and William Bright with archival footage, and following the current group as they perform in numerous venues and rehearse under Mr. Tucker's spirited guidance, in their hometown of Philadelphia, and across the vast landscape of America. With engagements picking up, they had to find a replacement, and they soon heard of a young singer from nearby Spartanburg. The Dixie Hummingbirds were formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina. Renowned African American gospel vocal group originally formed in 1928; members received a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship in 2000. The North provided better opportunities and was better in dealing with justice for African Americans. The group would eventually go to Philadelphia Pennsylvania where Barney Parks' father lived. Southern African American quartets injected new rhythmic drive and performing panache into their jubi… Tucker had been singing with his own group the Gospel Carriers. At the same time, the Hummingbirds’ harmonies continued to grow more sophisticated; the addition of Paul Owens completed the quartet’s development, and together he and Tucker honed a style they dubbed “trickeration,” a kind of note-bending distinguished by sensual lyrical finesse and staggering vocal intricacy. Tucker had been influenced by the Norfolk Jubilee Singers, and his mixture of gospel and blues added a versatility to the Dixies’ style that helped make them leading black Southern quartet. [1] Carroll did not do much singing; he preferred to play the guitar. In their early teens they sang in the Bethel Church of God in the junior chorus. Possibly the world's greatest Gospel group, the Dixie Hummingbirds (who recently celebrated their 70th anniversary) have managed to keep the sound of modern Gospel vital in popular music, and have been hugely influential in both the secular and the non-secular world. As time progressed, the Hummingbirds decided to move up north as part of the Great Migration. [1] In 1946, The Hummingbirds signed a record deal with Apollo Records, a growing New York Based label. ... Ira Tucker sang with the group unti he died in 2008 from heart disease but the "Birds" still perform with new members Tucker guided until his death. Copyright Vocal Group Hall Of Fame Foundation. The Dixie Hummingbirds discography and songs: Music profile for The Dixie Hummingbirds, formed 1928. In 1952, what many consider the group’s definitive lineup — a roster of Tucker, Davis, Bobo, Beachey Thompson, James Walker (replacing Owens) and ace guitarist Howard Carroll, a roster which held intact for close to a quarter century — signed to the Peacock label, where over the course of the following decade they recorded a series of masterpieces including 1952’s “Trouble in My Way,” 1953’s “Let’s Go Out to the Programs,” 1954’s “Christian’s Testimonial,” 1957’s “Christian Automobile” and 1959’s “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See.”. The Dixie Hummingbirds are an influential American gospel music group, spanning more than 80 years from the jubilee quartet style of the 1920s, through the "hard gospel" quartet style of gospel's golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, to the eclectic pop-tinged songs of today. Recruiting some of his fellow choir members from the Bethel Church of God in Greenville, South Carolina, James Davis initially formed them as the Sterling High School Quartet. Tucker also took the lead in the stylistic innovations adopted by the group, combining gospel shouting and subtle melismas with the syncopated delivery made popular by The Golden Gate Quartet, as well as adventuresome harmonies, which the group called "trickeration", in which another member of the group would pick up a note just as Tucker left off. Formed in Greenville, SC, by James B. Davis, the Dixie Hummingbirds began their career during the late '30s as a jubilee-styled act; joined in 1938 by 13-year-old baritone phenom Ira Tucker and bass singer extraordinaire Willie Bobo, a former member of the Heavenly Gospel Singers, the group made its recorded debut a year later on Decca, issuing singles such as "Soon Will Be Done with the Troubles of This … Together with such gospel musical talents as … Willie Bobo, one of the legendary gospel basses and the Heavenlies’ bass that night, also joined the Dixies soon after. In 2003, the Hummingbirds were the subject of an award-winning book about their 75-year career span, Great God A'Mighty! In February 2008, the first feature-length documentary/concert film featuring the life and history of the Dixie Hummingbirds was released in commemoration of their extraordinary eighty years as performers. In the early ‘50s James Walker joined and became the group’s second lead. As time went on he developed his showmanship, becoming the first to run up and down the aisles and jump off stages; it’s very possible that James Brown learned the moves from Tucker. Both Williams and Bright were also members of the Sons of the Bird, another gospel group that toured with the original Dixie Hummingbirds. Bryant abruptly left after clashing with the group. The Best of The Dixie Hummingbirds Thank You For One More Day: 70th Anniversary of the Dixie Hummingbirds. (A historical marker located in Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.) In their early teens they sang in the Bethel Church of God in the junior chorus. William Bobo replaced him. [1], Ira Tucker was asked to leave the Hummingbirds and join the Golden Gate Quartet. The group was formed by James Davis in Greenville, South Carolina. The group continues with the present lineup of William Bright, Lyndon Baines Jones, Carlton Lewis III, Torrey Nettles & Cornell McKnight, thereby preserving the rich legacy left by Tucker, James Davis, William Bobo, Beachey Thompson, James Walker, Howard Carroll, et al., with possible new additions to their personnel down the road. He was on his way to a radio broadcast with fellow members of the Dixie Hummingbirds … They changed their name so that they would not convey any sentiments to slavery. The group was influential for others that included James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations. William Henry was drafted into the military in 1943. At the turn of the century time took its toll on the Dixie Hummingbirds. Past members: James Davis (1916-2007) (founder), Ira Tucker (1925-2008) (lead singer), Willie Bobo, Jimmy Bryant, Barney Gipson, Claude Jeter (1914-2009), J.B. Matterson, Fred Owens, Paul Owens, Barney Parks, Beachy Thompson, James Walker, William Henry (bass) (1922-1997), Howard Carroll (1924-2017) guitarist, Willie Coleman, bass guitarist and vocals By making this move, they had to change the name of the group to cut ties with the school… He was a member of the famed gospel singing quartet, The Dixie Hummingbirds. After their 70th Anniversary many of the members retired, all but one, Ira Tucker. The Dixie Hummingbirds are an influential American gospel music group, spanning more than 80 years from the jubilee quartet style of the 1920s, through the "hard gospel" quartet style of gospel's golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, to the eclectic pop-tinged songs of today. Around this time, the Hummingbirds asked Howard Carroll (1924–2017) to be a part of the group, replacing Paul Owens. Soon Fred Owens became the bass and the group became the Sterling High School Quartet. The Hummingbirds signed to Regis Records, which changed its name to Manor Records, owned by Irving Berman, in 1945. Soon after Their virtuosity did not go unnoticed by audiences, and throughout the mid-’40s — an acknowledged golden age of a cappella quartet singing — the group regularly played to packed houses throughout the south. [citation needed]. [2] In 1942, the group relocated to Philadelphia. Willie Bobo died in 1976. No early inductees have been added since 2018 and none were inducted at all between 2000 (Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole) and 2009 (Wanda Jackson). They became the inspiration for countless R&B and soul singers, from Jackie Wilson and Clyde McPhatter to Bobby “Blue” Bland and The Temptations. Why Aren’t The Dixie Hummingbirds In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame It does appear that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been rather slow in inducting early influences. In 1945 the group recorded for Apollo and then Gotham. The Hummingbirds began on Philadelphia radio at station WCAU as the Jericho Boys and the Swanee Quintet, and performed in packed stadiums without the benefit of a hit record. Under names like the Swanee Quintet and the Jericho Boys, the Dixie Hummingbirds also regularly appeared on Philadephia radio station WCAU; it was as the Jericho Boys that they auditioned for the legendary producer John Hammond, who in 1942 booked them into the Cafe Society Downtown, then the Greenwich Village area’s preeminent showcase for black talent. Since that was how ours career seemed to be going [laughs], I figure that was a good name, and the guys went along with it[1], The Hummingbirds traveled around the South singing spirituals. Genres: Gospel, Traditional Black Gospel. Current Cd to Date: Diamond Jubilation Hammond was fond of Henry and ended their contract with Café Society over that. The group formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, by James B. Davis and his classmate Barney Parks under the name the Sterling High School Quartet. While performing at the Café Society, the Hummingbirds were often backed by Lester Young's sextet. Jubilee Quartet The 1920s saw the rise of a key predecessor of what we today call gospel music. The Dixie Hummingbirds are probably the best known of the black gospel quartets, having performed for over 50 years throughout America and Europe. Davis changed the name to the Dixie Hummingbirds. Kahn and Tucker produced an album for ABC entitled We Love You Like A Rock. The group recorded a number of albums for Peacock Records in the 1950s and 1960s. http://vocalgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Bedside-Of-A-Neighbor.mp3, http://vocalgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Christian-Automobile.mp3, http://vocalgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Loves-Me-Like-A-Rock.mp3, http://vocalgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Nobody-Knows-The-Trouble-I-See.mp3, http://vocalgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Thank-You-For-One-More-Day.mp3. The remaining members of the group declared they would press on and keep the legacy of the Dixie Hummingbirds alive. [4], The Dixie Hummingbirds are recipients of a 2000 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Impressed with the Hummingbirds, they were given the gig. All Rights Reserved. The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music by Jerry Zolten. Barney Parks had to leave the group due to being drafted. In 1941, the Hummingbirds moved to Washington D.C., where Davis had an Aunt with whom they could stay. In 1973, Robey sold Peacock to ABC Records, which released a cover of "Loves Me Like a Rock," produced by Walter "Kandor" Kahn and the group's lead vocalist Ira Tucker, which reached #72 on Billboard Magazine's Top 100 R&B Singles chart. Hammond was looking for an Gospel act to work in the club. [citation needed], Tucker introduced energetic showmanship – running through the aisles, jumping off stage, falling to his knees in prayer – copied by many quartets that followed. Soon Fred Owens became the bass and the group became the Sterling High School Quartet. They hit their stride in 1952 recording gospel standards like “Jesus Walked the Water” and “I Just Can’t HelpIt” for Peacock. Swan Silvertones great Claude Jeter also spent some time with the group in the ‘50s. Formed in Greenville, South Carolina by James B. Davis, the Dixie Hummingbirds began their career during the late ’30s as a jubilee-styled act; joined in 1938 by 13-year-old baritone phenom Ira Tucker and bass singer extraordinaire Willie Bobo, a former member of the Heavenly Gospel Singers, the group made their recorded debut a year later on Decca, where they issued singles including “Soon Will Be Done with the Troubles of This World,” “Little Wooden Church” and “Joshua Journeyed to Jericho.”. Hammond did not like the "Dixie" in their name. The current Hummingbirds lineup includes Lyndon Baines Jones, Torrey Nettles, Carlton Lewis, Troy Smith, Roy Smith, and Tucker. The Hummingbirds’ reception there encouraged them to tour. At that time they were performing under 3 names: The Dixie Hummingbirds in churches, the Swanee Quintet in Philadelphia, and the Jericho Quintet when at the Café Society. Gospel group founded in 1928 by 12 year old James Davis and his classmates. The album contained Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children", on which Wonder played keyboards. He told Davis, who urged him to try them out, which he did for a day and a half before deciding he could stay no longer. Soon Fred Owens became the bass and the group became the Sterling High School Quartet. The Dixie Hummingbirds are an influential American gospel music group, spanning more than 80 years from the jubilee quartet style of the 1920s, through the "hard gospel" quartet style of gospel's golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, to the eclectic pop-tinged songs of today. The Hummingbirds inspired a number of imitators, such as Jackie Wilson and James Brown, who adapted the shouting style and enthusiastic showmanship of hard gospel to secular themes to help create soul music in the 1960s. [citation needed]. Davis changed the name to the Dixie Hummingbirds. The group continued under Tucker’s leadership until June 2008, when Tucker died due to complications stemming from heart disease. The Dixie Hummingbirds made their first recordings in 1939 when only James Davis and Barney Parks remained. The inital members … About The Dixie Hummingbirds. The Hummingbirds continued into the ‘80s with a number of personnel changes. Ira Tucker and James Walker were still featured as of the late ‘80s. Bright had an extensive vocal range that allowed him to sing quartet parts from tenor to bass. Davis changed the name to the Dixie Hummingbirds. The Dixie Hummingbirds: Eighty Years Young has been shown on the Gospel Music Channel and has played at numerous film festivals. Apollo Records also signed Mahalia Jackson. They continued to tour heavily. The Dixie Hummingbirds are the longest-lived and successful quartet of their era. Gospel Singer. Also that same year the group obtained the lead singing services of Ira Tucker of Spartanburg, South Carolina. William Bright, a member of the Dixie Hummingbirds, died on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. Soon after, the group recorded its own version. The Dixie Hummingbirds. Albums include Loves Me Like a Rock / Learn How to Fall, Masked and Anonymous, and Nuggets of the Golden Age of Gospel 1945-1958. As a member, he distinguished himself as part of the group through his vocal talents. The Dixie Hummingbirds Marker The Dixie Hummingbirds Gospel group The First of the “Bird” Groups Source for information on The Dixie Hummingbirds: Contemporary Musicians dictionary. The group formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, by James B. Davis and his classmate Barney Parks under the name the Sterling High School Quartet. [1], These recordings proved successful and the Hummingbirds were back in the Billboard charts. After earning a standing ovation for their performance at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival (captured on the Gospel at Newport LP), the Hummingbirds essentially retired from mainstream appearances to focus solely on the church circuit. Most importantly, they were promised work from Charlie Newsome, a booking agent they had met in Jacksonville, Florida, who had been managing a group called the Royal Harmony Singers. By 1944, he was even regularly jumping off stages — indeed, the frenetic showmanship of soul music may have had its origins in Tucker’s manic intensity, itself an emulation of country preaching. They made their recording debut in 1939 on Decca Records. He found Beachy Thompson of the Willing Four out of Baltimore, who at the time recently opened for the Hummingbirds at their anniversary program. The single also won a Grammy for "Best Soul Gospel Performance." [5], Recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance". [1], The Hummingbirds had signed and recorded with Gotham and Okeh Records. It became famous when Ira Tucker became its lead singer in 1938 and the group signed with Decca Records, ushering in the hard singing style of gospel music's 1940s and 1950s golden age. [7], Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire", "Grammy Hall of Fame, Alphabetical by Title", 'The Dixie Hummingbirds' at Vocal Group Hall of Fame website, Recording of Dixie Hummingbirds performing "Jesus is Coming Soon" in Orlando in 1985, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Dixie_Hummingbirds&oldid=994700550, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from October 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2017, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 December 2020, at 02:44. Seven years later they backed Paul Simon on his gospel-flavored composition, “Loves Me Like a Rock.” The record sold a million copies and reached number two in the late summer. The members were Barney Gipson (lead), Davis (tenor), Barney Parks (baritone), and J.B. Matterson (bass). Following local activity, the group went to the National Baptist Convention in Atlanta where they met such top acts of the day as the Heavenly Gospel Singers, THE SWAN SILVERTONES, and Kings of Harmony. [1] The book was favorably reviewed in The New York Times on February 26, 2003. In September 1939 (Davis disputes the year as being 1938) The Hummingbirds drove to New York using contacts that Bryant had to record with Decca Records. She also honored those in retirement including Mr. James Davis, Howard Carroll, and Reverend Joe Williams. They recorded for both labels and did not have any hits from either label. [3], On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed The Dixie Hummingbirds among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. In 1942, the Hummingbirds would make the move with James Davis, Barney Parks, Ira Tucker, Wilson Baker and William Henry. After seeing the success of other quartet groups and realizing that there was not much work for African Americansin the South outside of low-paying labor jobs, the quartet decided to leave school and pursue their dream of being professional spiritual entertainers. Howard Carroll died on 17 October 2017 at age 92 at an assisted living center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was replaced by the … Charlie Newsome arranged an audition for the Hummingbirds with John Hammond, an unofficial musical director for the Café Society in New York. Before he left, he helped find a replacement. Talk:The Dixie Hummingbirds. Although there aren’t too many videos of Howard Carroll playing on YouTube, I did find a few, and I wanted to highlight one in particular. In 1966 the Hummingbirds performed at the Newport Folk Festival and were an instant sensation. The Birds were the obvious winners and Tucker became a member that same night. By 1946, the Hummingbirds were again recording, cutting sides for labels including Apollo and, later in the decade, Gotham and Hob. Though the quartet has included more than 19 different members over the past 70 years, no personnel change was quite as profound as the 1938 addition of Ira Tucker, Sr. who still performs with the Dixie Hummingbirds today. And now celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Dixie Hummingbirds in 2008, indeed he is "The Last Man Standing" and by all means "Still Keeping It Real". Ira Tucker, Sr. died due to complications from heart disease on the morning of June 24, 2008, at the age of 83. The new members were tenor Wilson Baker and bass singer Jimmy Bryant. The group first formed in 1928 in Greenville, South Carolina, and it soon hit the rural church circuit along the Deep South. The first to leave the ensemble was the group’s founder, James Davis. They went out to Texas the sign and record with Peacock Records under Don Robey. According to a statement released Thursday, Mr. Carroll coached Chuck Berry. [citation needed], The group sang the backup vocals on Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock", and "Tenderness", from his album There Goes Rhymin' Simon. The Hummingbirds decided that they needed a new label. In their early teens they sang in the Bethel Church of God in the junior chorus. One night the Carriers competed in a battle of the gospel groups against the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Heavenly Gospel Singers. Profilo: Gospel group founded in 1928 by 12 year old James Davis and his classmates. The members were Barney Gipson (lead), Davis (tenor), Barney Parks (baritone), and J.B. Matterson (bass). [citation needed], Lead singer Ira Tucker joined the group in 1938 at age 13 after the Hummingbirds came back from making records in New York City. The original Dixie Hummingbirds were together for 35 years. The members were Barney Gipson (lead), Davis (tenor), Barney Parks (baritone), and J.B. Matterson (bass). It was not until 1938 when James Bryant (formerly with the Heavenly Gospel Singers) joined the group that they start to sing Gospel. He was 77. Check … The Dixie Hummingbirds Before bringing out The Birds, LaDiva Davis read the names of some of the members that have passed including William Bobo, Beechy Thompson, James Walker, and Paul Owens. Walker joined the quartet in 1952 and stayed until his death in 1992. Davis recalls how they changed their name to the Dixie Hummingbirds: I figured that was the only bird could fly both backwards and forwards. James Davis retired in 1984 after 56 years on the circuit. By making this move, they had to change the name of the group to cut ties with the school. 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