Entries tagged with “Meridian”.


Mrs. Henry Thomas-Harrison

It came to our attention that one of the most dedicated solider of this genre died last month. We knew she had been “a little under the weather” as she would say, but had no idea of the seriousness of her illness. But, that sums up the personality of Mrs. Henry Thomas-Harrison. She would not want anyone to be concern about her well-being. For, her concern was about this genre and the ladies and gentlemen that delivered the Word in song.

Our dear sister transitioned home on August 31, 2012. She leaves a legacy that embodies the love that she had for this genre. In her own words –

I am Ms. Henry Thomas-Harrison. I grew up in the heart of the Mississippi Delta; in Sunflower County.(My parents came to the Delta from the Meridian and Philadelphia areas of Mississippi) Chicago (The Windy City) is now my home away from home. I invite you to visit my quartet website at ..www.downhomegospel.com or try going to www.chicagogag.com and click on quartet news and reviews. I do not claim to officially represent the Chicago quartet groups in any capacity, but I appreciate them and support the many talented quartet groups here in Chicago and around the world. I grew up in the Mississippi Delta; so hearing good gospel, blues,and country western singing, good guitar and harmonica playing is not new to me, but I am very excited about what is happening here in Chicago every week, just knowing that the music is still alive and as strong as ever!!! Chicago: called The Mecca of Gospel Music by many around the world lives up to that name every weekend with the many talented gospel quartet groups that appear at the various gospel concerts around Chicago and the entire Midwest area each Sunday and also it’s many gospel choirs, soloist,contemporary gospel artist and the many others who bring joy to our hearts every week. Most of the African American gospel quartets in Chicago are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who came to Chicago during the Black migration from the South, who came ‘up north’ to find work in the steel mills,the stock yards, the large catalog houses like Sears, Spiegels, and Aldens, Plus many other businesses that needed workers. These Blacks from the plantations brought with them their Soulful Delta gospel and blues singing, and their southern plantation style of playing ‘down home blues’ and ‘down home’ gospel guitar. In the Mississippi Delta every house (or shack) – no matter how poor, had a guitar, a harmonica and a few shotguns,I am not ashamed of the fact that I grew up on Jimmy Reed, corn bread, collard greens and blackeyed peas:) The Black Gospel Quartets in those days could be heard in the fields, on the porches after dark at night and of course on Sunday evenings at the country churches. Folks on the plantations would walk for miles sometimes to get to the programs. On Sunday mornings the quartet groups would purchase time at the radio stations and most of us on the plantations would wake up on Sunday mornings listening to the quartet singers on the radio. These groups would often sing live in the studio. Most everyone had large families on the plantations and it seems that every extended family had one of two quartet groups, and every “Colored” Baptist church seemed to have at least one or two quartet groups. Gospel Quartet and Blues on the plantation was a way of expressing The Sorrow,The Hope, The Joy and every emotion from deep inside that needed to be expressed. – REAL SOUL MUSIC!!

When the next book on Gospel Music is written, there has to be a chapter dedicated to those like Mrs. Henry Thomas-Harrison, who have done so much to keep this music before the public.

Jehovah Praise, Tampa, Florida, Rev. Roy Reed & The Zion Jubilees, Bryan, Texas, The Miller Singers, Birmingham, Alabama, The Rising Star Singers, Eastover, South Carolina, Jimmy & Darlene HarrisonSharp Records was formed in 1994 by Tony Sharper. Many may not have heard of this label. That is about to change. Sharp Records is not just a gospel label. They have artists from all of the major genres, including Country and R & B.

They are the home of numerous gospel artists. As to the Quartet Gospel genre, they have groups like The Gospel Songbirds of Meridian, Mississippi, The Miracle Wonders, The Soulful Sunlighters of Griffin, Georgia, and The Jacksonaires of Star City, Arkansas.

Today we received CDs from Sharp on Jehovah Praise, Tampa, Florida, Rev. Roy Reed & The Zion Jubilees, Bryan, Texas, The Miller Singers, Birmingham, Alabama, The Rising Star Singers, Eastover, South Carolina, and Jimmy & Darlene Harrison. Let’s take a look at two (2) of them.

Jehovah Praise’s I Need You Right Now consists of six (6) songs. The lead singers are Patricia Hackshaw and Betty Jean Fletcher. The word “Praise” in the group’s name is very appropriate. For, the project could be described as good Praise and Worship by a gospel quartet group.

The Miller Singers CD is titled It’s Getting Late In The Evening. This is a seven (7) track project. Listening to this project reminds us that there are good gospel singers all around this country that are rarely knew beyond their hometown. Well, for some good down home gospel singing by a group you may not have heard before get the CD by The Miller Singers. Just listen to their rendition of “It’s Getting Late In The Evening” and you will be convinced it is time for them to be introduced to the world.