Singing Sammy Lewis


A Sammy Lewis LP | Popsike | tc484

Samuel Allan Lewis was born in Chicago,Illinois on April 4, 1925, started singing at 5 years and at age 6 he was singing gospel music on radio station WSBC.

In 1943 he entered army service and on his return he became director of the Radio Choir of the Evangelist Temple Church of God In Christ, touring with Mahalia Jackson.

He signed to Chess in 1949 but again entered army service in Korea in 1950 serving for two years. He continued to have recordings issued on the Checker label throughout the 1960s.

He was considered one of America’s top ten gospel singers, but there has been no record of him for some time and it is feared the gentleman has died.


The Friendly Five


A Friendly Five LP Cover | Copyright control | tc468

The Friendly Five were a long running gospel vocal group formed by Rebert H. Harris, who was born in 1916. The original group comprised his brothers and cousins. The line up on the Chess recording is not available.

The Dixieland Singers

A gospel music act signed to Chess, the Dixieland singers were formed in Jackson, Tenn. by a Mr. Pittman. The lead singer on the Chess recording is understood to be Tommie Humphrey. Both persons are understood to be deceased. Can anyone provide more information about this group and recording, please.

I hope the video is the correct version.

The Crume Brothers


The Crume Brothers | Copyright control | tc456

The Crume Brothers of Chicago were real brothers who formed a gospel and soul music group while they were quite young. There were eight brothers and two sisters in the family, who moved to Chicago when the leader of the group, Dillard Crume, was aged 8. The group introduced electric guitar into gospel music and became quite famous in Chicago.

When he was 19, Dillard was approached by the Blind Boys of Alabama to become their guitarist and with them he travelled extensively.

He is still performing.

Many of the Brothers became members of another famous gospel group, The Soul Stirrers, of whom perhaps the most notable former member was Sam Cooke.

The Crume Brothers also recorded for Atlantic/Atco and Vee Jay Records.

One of the brothers, LeRoy Crume, died in October 2014.

Sammie Bryant


Little Sammie Bryant | Copyright control | tc449

Also known as “Little” Sammie Bryant, the diminuitive gospel singer came to prominence touring with Rev. C. L. Franklin and Sam Cooke. Just three feet tall, Checker released one LP of her recordings in 1966, the recordings dating from 1959 onwards. Her current whereabouts and biographical details are unknown.


Sammie Brown LP Cover | Discogs | tc448



Elder Charles D. Beck


Elder Beck | All Music | tc445

“No use letting the Devil have all the good tunes” was the saying of Elder Charles Beck, pastor of the Way of the Cross Church of God in Christ, in Buffalo, New York. Playing trumpet, vibes, and drums, Elder Beck was famous for his lively hymns, gospel songs, shouts, sermonizing, and prayers.

His 1950s recordings are preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of Washington DC.

Charles Beck was born around 1900 in Alabama and made his first recording in 1930. He made more than sixty recordings in all, and was also a frequent radio broadcaster. He had an extensive knowledge of gospel music and often revived earlier popular gospel songs and gave them his own treatment. He was noted for his barrel house style of playing piano on his recordings.

After 1960 Beck was involved in overseas missionary work, primarily in Ghana. He is believed to have died there sometime around 1972.