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The Dixie Hummingbirds


A pioneering drive behind the evolution of the present day gospel quartet audio, the Dixie Hummingbirds were one of the longest-lived & most successful sets of their period; renowned for his or her imaginative arrangements, intensifying harmonies, and all-around flexibility, they earned nearly universal recognition because the biggest Southern quartet of the era, and their impact spread not merely around the world of religious music but additionally inspired secular performers which range from Jackie Wilson to Bobby “Blue” Bland towards the Temptations. Shaped in Greenville, SC, by Wayne B. Davis, the Dixie Hummingbirds started their career through the past due ’30s like a jubilee-styled work; became a member of in 1938 by 13-year-old baritone phenom Ira Tucker and bass vocalist extraordinaire Willie Bobo, a previous person in the Heavenly Gospel Performers, the group produced its documented debut annually down the road Decca, issuing singles such as for example “Quickly Will BE ACHIEVED with the Difficulties of This Globe,” “Small Wooden Chapel,” and “Joshua Journeyed to Jericho.” Upon relocating to Philadelphia in 1942, the Hummingbirds’ recognition began to develop — Tucker, specifically, wowed audiences along with his flamboyant theatrics, rejecting the lengthy custom of “flat-footed” performers rooted set up on-stage and only running in the aisles and rocking prayerfully on his legs. By 1944, he was actually frequently jumping off phases — certainly, the frenetic showmanship of spirit music may experienced its roots in Tucker’s manic strength, itself an emulation of nation preaching. At exactly the same time, the Hummingbirds’ harmonies continuing to grow even more advanced; the addition of Paul Owens finished the quartet’s advancement, and jointly he and Tucker honed a method they dubbed “trickeration,” some sort of note-bending recognized by sensual lyrical finesse and staggering vocal intricacy. Their virtuosity didn’t go undetected by viewers, and through the entire middle-’40s — an recognized golden age group of a cappella quartet performing — the group frequently played to loaded houses through the entire South. Under brands just like the Swanee Quintet as well as the Jericho Children, the Dixie Hummingbirds also frequently made an appearance on Philadelphia radio place WCAU; it had been because the Jericho Children they auditioned for the renowned manufacturer John Hammond, who in 1942 booked them in to the Cafe Culture Downtown, then your Greenwich Community area’s preeminent display for black skill. By 1946, the Hummingbirds had been again recording, reducing sides for brands including Apollo and, afterwards in the 10 years, Gotham and Hob. In 1952, what many think about the group’s definitive lineup — a roster of Tucker, Davis, Bobo, Beachey Thompson, Adam Walker (changing Owens), and ace guitarist Howard Carroll, a roster that kept intact for near a quarter hundred years — agreed upon to the Peacock label, where during the period of the following 10 years they recorded some masterpieces including 1952’s “Difficulty in My Method,” 1953’s “Let’s VENTURE OUT towards the Applications,” 1954’s “Christian’s Testimonial,” 1957’s “Christian Vehicle,” and 1959’s “No one Knows the difficulty I Find.” After getting a position ovation because of their performance on the 1966 Newport Folk Festival (captured in the Gospel at Newport LP), the Hummingbirds essentially retired from mainstream performances to focus exclusively in the cathedral circuit. They do, however, burst back to the popular awareness in 1973, support Paul Simon on his pop smash “Loves Me Such as a Rock and roll.” The loss of life of Willie Bobo in 1976 taken to a unhappy end an extended chapter from the Hummingbirds’ background — his account in their rates dated back again to the past due ’30s — however the making it through associates forged on; simply two years afterwards, Ebony magazine called them “The World’s Greatest Gospel Group.” After Davis retired in 1984, Tucker was the last staying connect to the quartet’s formative years; regardless of the following fatalities of Walker in 1992 and Thompson in 1994, Tucker continuing leading the group on the century’s end, recruiting brand-new blood to keep carefully the Dixie Hummingbirds’ heart alive for a long time to check out, celebrating their seventh 10 years with 1999’s Music in the Air flow: The 70th Wedding anniversary All-Star Tribute. The group continuing under Tucker’s management until June 2008, when Tucker passed away due to problems stemming from cardiovascular disease. The remaining users of the group announced they might press on and keep carefully the legacy from the Dixie Hummingbirds alive.

Quick Facts

Full Name The Dixie Hummingbirds
Awards Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Grammy Hall of Fame
Music Songs Loves Me Like a Rock, Christian Automobile, I've Been Born Again, Thank You for One More Day, I've Got So Much to Shout About, Lord, I Want You to Help Me, Ezekiel Saw the Wheel, Will the Lord Be With Me, You Don't Have Nothing, Bedside of a Neighbor, If Anybody Asks You, Our Prayer for Peace, Jesus Is Coming Soon, Two Little Fishes, Trouble in My Way, When the Gates Swing Open, I'll Never Forget, When I Found Jesus Christ, Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, The Final Edition, I Must Have Jesus, Who Are We, Beaming from Heaven, Heaven's Grocery Store, I'll Live Again, Jesus Will Answer Prayer, Lord Come See About Me, Wonderful to Be Alive, Nobody's Fault, Rasslin' Jacob, Cool Down Yonder, Smooth Sailing
Albums Diamond Jubilation, We Love You Like A Rock, Live, Music in the Air: The 70th Anniversary All-Star Tribute, Thank You For One More Day: The 70th Anniversary Of The Dixie Hummingbirds, Still... Keeping It Real: The Last Man Standing, In Good Health, Look Down Upon Me Lord, The Dixie Hummingbirds' Book Of The Seven Seals, Mama, Moving On, Smooth Sailing, Music In The Air, The Best of the Dixie Hummingbirds, 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Dixie Hummingbirds, Golden Gospel Classics: The Dixie Hummingbirds, We'll Meet Again, Platinum Gospel: The Dixie Hummingbirds, Neuf négro-spirituals (Mono Version), A Christian Testimonal, Dixie Hummingbirds' When The Gates Swing Open, Gospel's Finest, Gospel Classics, Dixie Hummingbirds Selected Favorites, Heavenly Sounds by The Dixie Hummingbirds, Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 in Chronological Order

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1 Members have included Bonnie Gipson Jr., James Davis, Barney Parks, J.B. Matterson, Ira Tucker, William Bobo, James Walker, Beechey Thompson, Wilson Baker, Jimmy Bryant, Howard Carroll, Paul Owens, Carl Davis, William Bright,.
2 They were the backup vocal group on Paul Simon's #1 1973 song, "Love Me Like a Rock".



40 Days and 40 Nights 2002 performer: "Loves Me Like a Rock"



The Dixie Hummingbirds: 80 Years Young 2008 Documentary Themselves
We Love You Like a Rock: The Dixie Hummingbirds 1994 Documentary Themselves
Apollo Theatre Hall of Fame 1993 TV Special documentary Themselves
The 5th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 1990 TV Special Themselves
The Mike Douglas Show 1978 TV Series Themselves - Vocalists

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music 2005 TV Mini-Series documentary Themselves
God Only Knows: Vocal Harmony - The Voice 2003 TV Movie documentary Themselves

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