(b Henry, TN, Sept 18, 1938). American gospel music television and radio host, singer, choir director, and media executive. He began singing publicly in the Methodist church as a child, although his first exposure to gospel music came in sanctified churches. His involvement with gospel music deepened in Nashville when he served as keyboard player, singer, and director for church and civic choirs while studying at Tennessee State University. In 1978 Jones recorded the first of many albums with his small ensemble, the New Life Singers, whose aesthetic leaned more toward contemporary Christian music than black gospel. Around this time he began hosting children’s and gospel music shows on Nashville television stations. In 1980 Black Entertainment Television began broadcasting one of these programs, Bobby Jones Gospel. The popular program has featured performances by Jones’s ensembles, established gospel stars, and up-and-coming gospel artists. Firmly within the gospel entrepreneurial tradition, Jones’s other enterprises include music festivals, workshops, radio shows, the gospel opera ...
Carrie Allen Tipton
Horace Clarence Boyer
revised by Roxanne R. Reed
(b Chicago, IL, Aug 29, 1929; d Chicago, IL, Oct 8, 2010). American gospel singer. She began singing at the West Point Baptist Church in Chicago as a little girl, and by the time she was 17 had become part of an ensemble led by Robert Anderson. Walker was sought after to record as a soloist and, reportedly resistant to sing solo, recruited fellow members of Anderson’s group to record with her. After making a decided split from Anderson in 1952, the Original Caravans were formed. Earliest members included Ora Lee Hopkins, Elyse Yancey, and Nellie Grace Daniels. The group was known for close harmonies and earthy singing. Walker’s own voice was a husky contralto sound with a characteristic crack of three or four descending tones while moving through a melodic line. Walker originally sang lead and remained the anchor of the group. She was lead soloist for “Lord, keep me day by day” (composed by Eddie Walker, ...