Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Original Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi on Marathon

The Original Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi

CP-2420 ~ A Weeping For A Mighty Long Time
(Harvey-Duckworth, Calvin Brown, BMI)

CP-2421 ~ Take Your Burdens To Jesus
(Harvey-Brown-Duckworth, Calvin Brown, BMI

Marathon 182-1

November 16, 1959 (Billboard review)

Writers of both songs are Dr J. Gerald Harvey and Pauline Duckworth who wrote and/or produced for Calvin Brown, the owner of Marathon Records, at least two other records : the secular Rich McQueen & his Rhythm Rockers (Marathon Records) and gospel James Anderson (Electro Records).

One of the few gospel groups to make the R&B charts, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi were a powerful aggregation who were known to have influenced Ray Charles, among others.

The Piney Woods School, near Jackson, Mississippi, was one of the pioneer establishments in education for blacks and it had a separate teaching for blind children. Some blind students began singing there, on of the school grounds in 1936. They were called the Cotton Blossom Singers.

In the mid-1940s, they began calling themselves the Five Blind Boys.

In the late fifties, the health of their lead singer, Archie Brownlee, deteriorating, the owner of Peacock Records, Don Robey, for whom they recorded extensively since 1950, probably had no intention of re-signing them and sent them on their way.

That's when they recorded for Calvin Brown's tiny Marathon Records, not a Checker subsidiary as I've seen written. The single was also released subsequently on Checker Records [#953, May 1960].

In 1961, they recorded a very successful album for Checker called "I'll Go". According to one source, Just Moving On, This was not to Robey's liking. While on tour in Houston, Robey paid them a visit. "Chess has a lot of money," he said, "why don't you tell them you're still under contract to me, and we'll sue them for big bucks!" ...

The group has seen numerous personnel changes, as it's quite normal for a such long lasting aggregation. Also, they were not always five... They were not always all blind... They were not always all from the Magnolia State... But.. boys? are you going to ask. Wait.

According to a review of E. Patrick Johnson’s Gays and Gospel: A History
of Sacred Music
”, "One of the more interesting asides is that a member of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi was found to be a “she” after his death in 1994."

It's interesting to see how some reviewers are going right to the important.

God works in mysterious ways

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