The CBS TrumpeteersBlack History Highlight

Here is a Gospel Music Trivia Question – What gospel quartet group acquired a portion of their name from that of a broadcasting company? The CBS Trumpeteers.

Joseph Johnson, who learned his quartet skills as a member of the Golden Gate Quartet and the Willing Four Quartet, decided to organize a group that he could influence in both repertoire and style. In 1946 in Baltimore he formed a group called the Trumpeteers with Joe Armstrong, baritone; Raleigh Turnage, tenor; James Keels, bass; and himself on lead. The Trumpeteers were the personification of the jubilee quartet: tight and sweet harmony, tenor voice lead, and attacks and releases that were perfectly coordinated. Shortly after they were organized the Trumpeteers began singing over WCAO radio in Baltimore and were noticed by the Columbia Broadcasting System, whose executive signed them to a daily radio show. In honor of this collaboration, the group added CBS to their name. They, along with the Golden Gate Quartet and the Wings Over Jordan Choir, were among the few jubilee and gospel singers to have a network radio program.

Their contract with CBS lasted only two years, but he radio show gave the group national celerity and helped them land a contract with Score Records. The first recording session on September 12, 1947, produced their greatest hit, Theodore R. Frye’s arrangement to “Milky White Way,” a gospel blues song like Tindley’s “Stand by Me” and Eugene Smith’s “I Know the Lord Will Make A Way, Oh Yes, He Will.””

“Not until 1952, when the Bells of Joy released their “Let’s Talk about Jesus,” would there be another quartet recording that commanded the attention of every gospel music lover as “Milky White Way” did in the late 1947 and 1948.”