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date: 12 November 2019

Golden Gate Quartetlocked

  • Horace Clarence Boyer

Extract

American gospel quartet. Its original members were Henry Owens (lead), Clyde Reddick (tenor), Willie “Bill” Johnson (baritone), and Orlandus Wilson (bass); Reddick was later replaced by Willie Langford, but returned to the group in the 1950s. The group was formed in the late 1920s in Norfolk, Virginia, while its members were still attending high school, and had achieved great popularity by the mid-1930s. Their style was similar to that of barbershop quartets of the period, emphasizing close harmony with precise attacks and releases. Most of their repertory consisted of black spirituals, to which they applied a secular beat. Although they were not the first gospel quartet to broadcast—the Southernaires and the Delta Rhythm Boys had preceded them—their radio broadcasts in the 1930s and 1940s inspired several generations of vocal quartets, including the Harmonizing Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Soul Stirrers. In 1940, after appearing at Café Society, New York, they began to perform more secular music and eventually settled in Europe. Although the group has occasionally changed membership, it has remained active into the 21st century....

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