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date: 22 August 2019

Coates, Dorothy Lovelocked

  • Horace Clarence Boyer

Extract

(b Birmingham, AL, Jan 30, 1928; d Birmingham, AL, April 9, 2002). American gospel singer and composer. She was born into a musical family and by the age of ten was playing the piano for her church. As a teenager she sang with the Royal Travelers and a family group, the McGriff Singers. In 1945 she joined the Original Gospel Harmonettes, an all-female group in Birmingham, whose members were Vera Kilb, Mildred Miller Howard, Odessa Edwards, Willie Mae Newberry and the pianist Evelyn Starks. Their first recordings, I’m sealed, followed by Get away Jordan (1951), placed them in the front rank of gospel singers. The group made several successful recordings and appearances during the next seven years, performing predominantly works by Coates. Her compositional style is simple in its melody, harmony and rhythm; her lyrics make use of favourite church sayings and ‘wandering couplets’ taken from older hymns and spirituals (for example, ...

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