Richard Wallace, founding member of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, passes on

Richard Wallace, founding member of the legendary Mighty Clouds of Joy has died, according to a statement released today by Rev. Isaac Lindsey, manager of Joe Ligon’s Mighty Clouds of Joy.  The official statement reads:

We are heartbroken to share the news that the world’s greatest gospel bass guitarist and baritone singer, Brother Richard Wallace of the three-time Grammy Award-winning group The Mighty Clouds of Joy of Los Angeles, California, passed away today, Monday, July 27, 2020, at the UT Health Center in Tyler, Texas surrounded by his wife and family.

Richard was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, uncle, mentor, and friend to so many who loved him dearly.

As much as Richard cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of goodwill from people around the world and from all walks of life.

While we mourn the loss of a very good and humble man, we also celebrate his remarkable life as one of the founding members of one of the most successful groups in gospel music history, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Richard, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment, and modesty, and the next time you set your mind to do anything, declare and decree that God is not dead, he still lives and that you can’t do anything on your own.

We kindly ask everyone to please respect the family’s privacy during this time of bereavement.

The Celebration of Life service will take place at 12 PM (CT) on Saturday, August 1, 2020, at the Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, TX.  Cards and memorials may be sent to Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace, 2209 Woodlands Drive, Tyler, TX 75703.

GMF extends sincere sympathy to the Wallace family and the Clouds during this deeply emotional time. 

Passing: Carol Hawkins, Eldest Sister of Legendary Hawkins Family [Arrangements]

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

GMF is sad to receive the news that Carol Hawkins, eldest sister of the legendary Hawkins family, has passed. The official announcement was shared to social media by the Kemp and Hawkins families today, June 12, 2020.

Mother Hawkins was a member of the Edwin Hawkins Singers along with her siblings Edwin, Walter, Feddie, Daniel, Lynette, and other relatives.


In 1968, her brother Edwin (d. 2018) and the Northern California State Youth Choir COGIC (a choir he started with the assistance of Betty Watson) released an album, Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord, hoping to sell a few hundred copies at area concerts.  The album included his arrangement of the 18th century hymn “Oh Happy Day.”  In 1969, Buddah Records re-issued “Oh Happy Day” as a single from the Edwin Hawkins Singers.  The song became an international hit (charting in the US and several countries in Europe), earned the group its first Grammy Award, and has reportedly sold seven million copies.  Accordingly, “Oh Happy Day” sits on The Recording Industry Association of America and National Endowment of the Arts Songs of the Century list, right between John McCormick’s “The Star Bangled Banner” and Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire.”


GMF sends sincere sympathy to the Kemp and Hawkins families and sends prayers up throughout this time of bereavement.

Arrangements are included on the graphic.  The July 12th memorial service will stream live on Facebook on the Walter Hawkins Official Fan Page. 

R.I.P. Derrick Lamont Adams, Stellar nominated gospel songwriter, producer, and musician

The SRT Entertainment family regrets to announce the passing of Derrick Lamont Adams, co-writer of hits “God’s Grace” and “Look To The Hills” as well as co-producer of Stellar nominated The Favor Of God and upcoming Look To The Hills albums by Rev. Luther Barnes & The Restoration Worship Center Choir.
 
From Luther Barnes concerning Derrick Adams:
 
My heart is deeply broken from the passing of my friend Derrick Adams. He was “My Boy.” We co-wrote many songs together including the ever popular “God’s Grace.” He traveled with me for several years and played on many of my projects. Derrick was a strong dedicated Christian and an awesome musician. I will miss him greatly. As a tribute to him here are a few of the songs he co-wrote and/or collaborated with me on. Please check them out when you can:
 
Look To The Hills, God’s Grace, I’ll Obey, The Favor of God, Hallelujah Praise, Come Back To Me, It’s Your Time, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, Wherever I Go, The Praise Song, Even Then, I’m Gonna Praise Your Name, Feel The Fire, Give Love At Christmas Time, My Whole Life I Give To You and many others.
 
Thank you, Derrick Adams, for your great contribution to Gospel Music. Rest In Peace. Love You Man.
 
D.A. Johnson, President of SRT Entertainment, remembers,
 
I met Derrick for the first time in person and had the opportunity to just hang out with him in Los Angeles for the ASCAP RHYTHM & SOUL MUSIC AWARDS in June 2018 to accept Song of The Year honors for “God’s Grace.” It was a short turnaround trip so after the ceremony, we just drove around the city so Derrick could see as many of the landmarks we could cram into one night. It was a magical evening and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share that special time with him.
 
– From a press release
 
GMF Editor’s Note: Adams passed Thursday, May 7, after complications during transplant surgery.  GMF extends sympathy to his family and host of friends in this difficult time. 

Gospel music community mourns passing of Troy Sneed

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

The gospel music community is mourning the passing of recording artist and producer Troy Sneed, from COVID-19 complications.  Sneed died Monday in a Jacksonville, FL hospital.  He was 52 years old. 

Sneed was a member of the Georgia Mass Choir twelve years and held various roles as a musician, director, writer, and producer during his tenure.  As a solo artist, he recorded a string of albums including A State of Worship (2005), which was his first release on his and his wife Emily’s Emtro Gospel label.  His offerings, My Heart Says Yes (2011) and All Is Well (2012), both sat high on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart.  


Sneed is being remembered as a wonderful person, friend, and family man. 


Pastor Alvin Darling, who credits Sneed with helping to revive his music career, told me, “[Troy] was a great friend, great husband, great father, [and] dynamic singer and producer and songwriter.  We worked and traveled together doing concerts, and on the lighter side, he was a real jokester and prankster, but he loved the Lord.”

GMF extends heartfelt condolences to his dear wife Emily, his beautiful children, and the entire family.  Our prayers are with you. 

Brenda Joyce Moore, “Oh Lord, How Excellent” composer, has died

Songwriter and musician Brenda Joyce Moore, whose widely known composition “Perfect Praise” (better known as “Oh Lord, How Excellent”) is in nearly every gospel choir’s repertoire, passed away this morning, April 8th.  Ramon Perry made the announcement on Facebook.  
 
GMF extends sincere condolences to Moore’s family, friends, and the entire Chicago gospel community, and sends prayers for God’s comfort during this difficult time. 

Passing: Billie Barrett Greenbey of the Barrett Sisters

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Billie Barrett Greenbey has passed on, Dr. Patricia James Holloway informed GMF Friday morning (Feb. 28).  She was 91 years old, or to hear the classy and sassy legendary singer tell it, “39 and holding.”

Auntie Billie, as I affectionately called her, was one-third of the famed Barrett Sisters.  Her older sister Delois Barrett Campbell died in 2011 (see related story).  Younger sister Rodessa Barrett Porter is now the sole surviving member of the singing trio.

Whether leading or backing, Auntie Billie’s robust contralto was a perfect complement to her sisters, helping them earn the nickname, “Sweet Sisters of Zion.”  Albertina Walker once proclaimed, “I’ll tell the world, ain’t no greater singers than these Barrett girls.  They’re the singingest honeys!”

GMF joins the masses in extending heartfelt sympathy to daughter Tina, sister Rodessa, and the entire family.  We hold them in prayer now and in the days ahead.

I will play music in tribute to Auntie Billie during the Gospel Music Fever Radio Show on Monday, March 9, at 1 PM ET.  Be sure to tune in at kwaygospel.com.

Here’s more from The Journal of Gospel Music’s Bob Marovich: RIP Billie Barrett Greenbey, Member of the Barrett Sisters

 
 

Homegoing celebration for LaTonya Earl set for this weekend

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Gospel Music Fever was heartbroken to learn of the passing of songstress Dr. LaTonya Earl.  LaTonya perished Valentine’s Day in a car collision in Houston, TX.  She was 49 years old.  

LaTonya is known in the gospel community as a gifted singer, songwriter, musician, and longtime worship director at The Church at Bethel’s Family in Houston.  Her talent has garnered widespread recognition among her peers and earned her multiple Rhythm of Gospel and Texas Gospel Music Excellence Awards. 

I met LaTonya in 2013 at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards, as we were seat buddies at the main show.  That single encounter birthed a friendship that continued til her demise.  I had the privilege of interviewing LaTonya in 2013.  You can read it here: LaTonya Earl: Her Story, Her Song

Heartfelt sympathy and prayers are extended to her husband Rev. Walter Earl, children Britney, Amber, and Drew, grandson Roman, and her entire biological and spiritual family during this undoubtedly difficult time.

Rev. Walter August, senior pastor of The Church at Bethel’s Family, announced homegoing arrangements for LaTonya Tuesday via Facebook.  The public viewings and services will take place at The Church at Bethel’s Family, located at 12660 Sandpiper Drive in Houston, TX.

Friday, February 21, 2020
Viewing
3 – 6 PM CST

Celebration Musical 
6:30 PM

Saturday, February 22, 2020
Viewing
8:30 – 10 AM

Homegoing Celebration
10 AM

Mondre Bynum of Mondre and Divine passes away

Herb McFadden informed GMF yesterday (January 30, 2020) that Mondre Bynum made his transition.  He was 39 years old.

Bynum was a songwriter, producer, author, and lead singer of the eastern North Carolina based group Mondre and Divine, whose music includes “Jesus Makes Me Smile,” “So Amazing,” “It’s Gonna Get Better,” “Working Everyday,” and I Believe in Us

Bynum penned “It’s Gonna Get Better” following the tragic death of his younger brother due to gun violence.  He went on to author a devotional by the same title and to found a non-profit called the IGGB Campaign, the mission of which is to “assist those who have been directly affected by gun violence, the family of the victim as well as all others directly or indirectly impacted by murderous acts.”

GMF extends heartfelt condolences to the Bynum family during this extraordinarily shocking and difficult time.

Libra Boyd, creator, producer, and host of the Gospel Music Fever Radio Show, will pay tribute to Bynum during the second half of the show’s one-hour broadcast this Monday, February 3, at 1 PM ET.  You can listen at kwaygospel.com.

Rev. Maceo Woods, pastor and organist, has died

Maceo Woods press release

Another of Chicago’s gospel greats has joined the ever-growing heavenly choir.  Rev. Maceo Woods passed away today.  Homegoing service details are on the photo.

Read more about Rev. Woods–organist, recording artist, and founder and pastor of Christian Tabernacle Church–from our friend Bob Marovich at the Journal of Gospel Music: RIP: Rev. Maceo Woods, Pastor, Organist, Founder of “Gospel Supreme” Musical.

Gospel Music Fever offers condolences and prayers to the Woods immediate and extended family and Christian Tabernacle Church during this emotional time.

Bishop Donnie Graves to be remembered, celebrated this weekend

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

GMF was saddened to learn of the passing of Bishop Donnie Graves, who died December 29, 2019.  He was 65 years old. 

Formally trained in organ and sacred music, Bishop Ralph Donnell Graves is widely recognized as a masterful musician, composer, arranger, and choir director whose albums include I’m Saved, Count Your Blessings, I Am Determined, So Far I Have Weathered the Storm, Back With A Vengeance, and Sounds from Heaven.  Among his notable compositions are “Count Your Blessings” and “When All God’s Children Get Together.”

Bishop Graves was the presiding prelate of Deliverance Temple Restoration Ministries, Inc. and pastor of The Gathering Place in Raleigh, NC.  He also established and pastored Refreshing Springs Restoration Center and Greater Metropolitan Restoration Center in Rocky Mount and Greensboro, respectively.

GMF offers heartfelt condolences to Bishop’s daughters, grandchildren, and the entire Graves family as well as his church family, friends, colleagues, and protégés. 

Homegoing information has been published as follows:

Wake
Friday, January 3, 2020
7 PM
The Gathering Place
3500 Woodmeadow Pkwy
Raleigh, NC  

Visitation
Saturday, January 4, 2020
9-10 AM
Mount Calvary Word of Faith Holy Church
3100 Sanderford Rd
Raleigh, NC

Homegoing Service
10 AM
Mount Calvary Word of Faith Holy Church