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Name: Deacon Gallamore
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Name: Rev J.M. Gates
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Born: 14 July 1884, Hogansville, Georgia
Died: 18 August 1945, Atlanta, Georgia
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Rev. J. M. Gates of Atlanta was by far the most recorded preacher prior to World War II. His career began in 1926 and ended fifteen years later with this, his final recorded sermon. It was the eighth sermon he had recorded on a Christmas theme. All of them were variants on the first two, "Death Might Be Your Santa Claus" and "Where Will You Be Christmas Day?" This recording derives mostly from the second theme but it overlaps with the first in its suggestions of death, violence, and the jailhouse. Blues artists sang about Christmas and Santa Claus, and their themes were often equally grim and melancholy. For those on the bottom, Christmas was a reminder of how far down they were. Rev. Gates was born in 1884 and died in 1945. For many years he pastored the Streamline Baptist Church in Atlanta, and his stature was no doubt enhanced by his very successful recording career that included more than 200 songs and sermons. He had the biggest black funeral in Atlanta prior to that of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gates typically used one male and two female members of his congregation to respond to his sermons and sometimes help in singing a hymn. Their repetitions of his phrases and words of encouragement are typical of traditional African American church services, making this a good example of the style.
- Dr. David Evans

The Baptist preacher J.M. Gates was one of the most prolifically recorded black artists of the early 20th century, with over 200 sides on wax between the mid-'20s and his death in 1945 (he once recorded 23 titles in a week, at just two sessions). His sermons and musical numbers appeared on a variety of labels (Victor, Bluebird, Okeh, Gennett), though Gates often re-recorded his most popular sermons - "Death's Black Train Is Coming," "Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting," "Goin' to Die with the Staff in My Hands" - for multiple labels. Born in 1884, Gates ministered at Atlanta's Calvary Church and first recorded in 1926. Beginning in April, he recorded almost 100 sides by the end of the year. Understandably, his output slowed slightly during the rest of the late '20s, and the advent of the Great Depression resulted in a four-year period off records. He returned in 1934, and recorded about 20 more sides until his death in 1945. Experts estimate that Gates recorded at least a quarter of all the sermons that appeared before 1943.
- John Bush, All Music Guide (www.allmusic.com)

From 1914 to his death, Gates was the pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Rock Dale Park, Atlanta, Georgia. He had a very prolific recording career, recording over 200 sides between 1926 and 1941, including frequent re-recordings. Experts estimate that at least a quarter of all sermons commercially released on record before 1943 were recorded by Gates. His first best-seller, 1926's "Death's Black Train Is Coming", sold 35,000 copies by the end of its release year. Many of his recordings were strong warnings of the hellish punishments that awaited sinners. Gates is credited with introducing the gospel music of former blues artist Thomas A. Dorsey into the black gospel market via his crusades. His funeral drew the largest crowd of any memorial service in the city before Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to a Columbia Records collection and a "complete works" set from Document Records, Gates' work has been frequently featured in gospel and roots music anthologies, including Harry Smith's influential Anthology of American Folk Music.
- Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._Gates)
 

Recording career: Mid '20s to his death in 1945
Most popular song(s): "Death's Black Train Is Coming"
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References / links: Wikipedia
AllMusicGuide

 

Name: H. C. Gatewood
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Name: The Georgia Peach
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Name: Golden Eagle Gospel Singers
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Name: Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet
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Name: Gospel Camp Meeting Singers
Aka: Georgia Tom Dorsey and Tampa Red
Location: Chicago, Il
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Recording career: Two songs recorded May 1929
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Document: DOCD-5074
 

 

Name: Blind Roosevelt Graves
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Name: A. A. Gray and Seven Foot Dilly
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Name: Great Day Of New Orleans Singers
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Name: Rev. Sutton Griggs
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Name: Bessie Griffin
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Name: John & Lovie Griffin
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Name: Rev. Gipson
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Click on the large 'Initial' at the top of the page to return to the Early Gospel Singers Introduction, or click on an initial below to take you to details of more early gospel singers:

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