The Davis SistersBlack History Highlight

Here is a Gospel Music Trivia Question – What gospel quartet group started by singing in a church where their mother was the Pastor? The Davis Sisters.

“The Famous Davis Sisters of Philadelphia was founded by Ruth Davis in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ruth had enlisted in the Women’s Air Corp during World War II to fulfill her patriotic aspirations. During this time her musical and creative instincts came to the forefront of her personality and the nurturing of her artistic side conflicted with the strict military discipline required of WAC’s. Ruth had been continually inspired by music and had heard the Wings Over Jordan Choir in the military, the old Southern-style male quartets on the radio, and heard the newly developing gospel sound in churches and on programs.”

“They started singing in churches and on programs and became popular. Ruth developed their stage positions around a central microphone to achieve a depth to their combined voices. Their first recording contract was signed in 1947.”

“Raised in the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church in Philadelphia, the Davis Sisters were one of the first female groups to sing “hard gospel” of the sort being pioneered by the Dixie Hummingbirds and other male quartets of the day. They achieved a big sound, managing to sound like a choir behind the lead singer by positioning themselves several steps behind the microphone.”

“Many local concerts were given at the “Met” Theatre in Philadelphia. The Sisters always packed the house and were always late arriving. People would wait at the door for them to arrive. They would look for Alfreda because she always led them in their march to the stage to begin singing. Their live performances were awesome and they would “tear the house down”. Ruth Davis had such a powerful voice that she could just start up a song without any introduction or gimmicks. When she would sing “Shine On Me“, she would throw her handkerchief in the air: the crowd would be ecstatic and many people were slain under the Spirit. When Thelma would sing “Jesus“, the crowd really responded enthusiastically. The Davis Sisters’ attire was usually plain choir robes and in the early days they were only accompanied by piano played by Curtis Dubin. The Famous Davis Sisters were involved in the evolvement of the a’capella quartet sound into female group singing with instrumental accompaniment.”

Members of the group have included Ruth Davis, Audrey Davis, Alfreeda Davis, Thelma Davis, Imogene Green, Jackie Verdell, Curtis Dublin, Esther Ford, Cynthia Young, Julia Mae Price, and Lelia Dargon. The original members of The Famous Davis Sisters are deceased.

Bio from Wikipedia, except were otherwise noted.