The Barrett Sisters

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The Barrett Sisters
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Gospel
Associated acts Thomas A. Dorsey
The Roberta Martin Singers
Website The Barrett Sisters
Members Billie Barrett GreenBey
Rodessa Barrett Porter
Tina Brown
Past members DeLois Barrett Campbell
Johnnie Mae Hudson

The Barrett Sisters are an American award-winning gospel trio from Chicago, Illinois. The trio consisted of sisters DeLois Barrett Campbell, Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter. They have been singing together for more than 40 years.[1]

History[edit]

The Barrett Sisters grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Delois was born in Chicago in 1926 to Susie and Deacon Lonnie Barrett, a staunch Baptist from Hickory, Mississippi.

Delois and sisters Billie GreenBey (contralto) and Rhodessa Porter (soprano) spent a good deal of their childhood singing around the house and in the choir of The Morning Star Baptist Church at 3991 South Park Boulevard on Chicago's South Side. They had seven siblings, four of whom died in childhood of tuberculosis.[2]

In 1936, under the direction of an aunt, choir director Mattie Dacus, the trio teamed up with a cousin named Johnnie Mae Hudson and sang local engagements billed as The Barrett and Hudson Singers. When Johnnie Mae died in 1950, Rhodessa replaced her, and the group was renamed The Barrett Sisters.[3]

While still a senior at Englewood High School, Delores was recruited by The Roberta Martin Singers, a seminal group from the Pilgrim Baptist Church that was known for its stellar roster of lead male voices, notably Robert Anderson and Norsalus McKissick. She toured and sang with the troupe until the early 1960s, when Ms Martin encouraged her to begin an independent recording career in a trio with her sisters, and as a solo artist.[3]

In the mid-1960s, the sisters recorded their first album on Savoy Records, "Jesus Loves Me," on which they recorded Sam Cooke's "Wonderful". They followed with "I'll Fly Away" and "Carry Me Back" where they were joined with Roberta Martin on "I Hear God". Ms. Martin sang lead on the title track. In the 1970's they recorded two albums for Nashboro's subsidiary label Creed: "God So Loved The World" and "Coming Again So Soon". Ms. Campbell followed with a solo album also on Creed called "Through It All". They have recorded more than eleven albums in all.

Over their career, The Barrett Sisters have toured internationally over thirty times.[4] The Barrett Sisters have performed at countless churches and in many respected concert halls including the Lincoln Center in NYC, Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and Theatre-DeVille in Paris, France.

The Barrett Sisters represented the United States in Africa, as Goodwill Ambassadors of 1983, and in the South Pacific for six weeks in 1987. They have also performed for several notable leaders including the King of Sweden and the President of Zaire, Africa. The Barrett Sisters are associated with numerous celebrities and big names in entertainment including the late Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker, Dorothy Love Coates, Thomas A. Dorsey (National Singers Convention), Rev. James Cleveland, Andraé Crouch, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Shirley Caesar, The Winans, Willie Mae Ford Smith, Jennifer Hudson, and Patti LaBelle.[5]

Radio, television, and film[edit]

The Barrett Sisters made their first appearance on radio and television in the 1960s. They have appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "The Oprah Winfrey Show,""Bobby Jones Show," "Living the Dream," a television tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, PBS special "Going Home to Gospel with Patti LaBelle," along with Gospel Queen Albertina Walker, and the "PTL Club." They've been featured several times on the locally produced Emmy Award winning "Jubilee Showcase." They have appeared on The Stellar Awards, which included accepting 2009 Walgreens' Ambassador Bobby Jones Legend Award.

In 1982, The Barrett Sisters were featured in the critically acclaimed documentary "Say Amen, Somebody," which features Willie Mae Ford Smith, Sallie Martin, Thomas A. Dorsey, The O'Neal Twins, and Zella Jackson Price. Acclaimed New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael wrote that The Barrett Sisters "bring the film to an emotional pitch, and we in the audience want to go on soaring...."[6] They were also featured on the soundtrack.[7]

They are featured in the 2010 concert film "The Barrett Sisters in Concert," as well as the 2013 documentary, "The Sweet Sisters of Zion: Delois Barrett Campbell & The Barrett Sisters," directed by Regina Renee Davis.[8]

List of Screening Festivals for Sweet Sisters of Zion[edit]

  • 2013 Chicago Blues Festival - WORLD PREMIERE[9]
  • 2014 CIMM Festival[10]

Members[edit]

Delois Barrett Campbell[edit]

The eldest Barrett sister, Delois Barrett Campbell (March 12, 1926 – August 2, 2011), began her career as the lead singer of the world famous Roberta Martin Singers while still in high school. As a member of Roberta Martin Singers, DeLois traveled around the United States and the world singing for the Lord, but she soon placed her career on hold to start her family. DeLois became a mother and a pastor's wife.

Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter[edit]

Meanwhile, Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter also became wives and mothers. Billie had become a soloist, and Rodessa had become a songwriter and choir director in Gary, Indiana.

Tina Brown[edit]

Tina Brown met Delois Barrett Campbell in 1999, the same year she formed her own group, TINA BROWN & VOICES. When Delois' health prevented her from performing, Tina was asked to stand in for her, and sing her parts in the group.[11]

Recent years[edit]

DeLois Barrett Campbell died August 2, 2011. She was 85.[12] She had been wheelchair bound for years. In late 2009, she lost her voice and could not sing anymore but she was still present during some of the concerts with a microphone in her hand. She had battled arthritis and other health issues.[13] The other sisters are still performing, recording, and serving the Lord. DeLois had her last annual birthday concert celebration at First Church of Deliverance in Chicago, that included performances with her sisters Billie and Rodessa.

See also[edit]

The Roberta Martin Singers

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums
  • Jesus Loves Me (1963)
  • I'll Fly Away (1965)
  • Carry Me Back (1966)
  • Coming Again So Soon (1973)
  • God So Loved the World (1974)
  • I've Got a Feeling (1987)
  • Live! Nobody Does it Better (1990)
  • What Will You Do With Your Life (1990)
  • Peacemaker (1991)
  • Through It All (1994)
  • What Shall I Render (Unto God) (1995)
  • Best of Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters (1995)
  • Best Of... (1996)
  • What A Wonderful World (1998)
  • He's Got the Whole World In His Hands (2002)
  • He's So Wonderful (2011)
Soundtracks
  • Jesus Loves Me (1982)

Contributions to Compilations[edit]

  • Precious Lord: Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey (1973)
  • Live in Concert With... vol 2. (1977)
  • Chicago Gospel Pioneers (1987)
  • The Soul of Chicago (1993)
  • The Best of the Roberta Martin Singers (2001)
  • Living Gospel (2002)
  • Gospel Pioneers 2 (2007)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/arts/music/delois-barrett-campbell-gospel-singer-dies-at-85.html?_r=0
  2. ^ EJ (2009). "TidBits: The Barrett Sisters",gospelpundit.com.
  3. ^ a b Opal Louis Nations, "The Barrett Sisters," 1996. http://opalnations.com/files/Barrett_Sisters.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.reverbnation.com/artist_1936581/bio
  5. ^ "Sweet Sisters of Zion," documentary, 2013.
  6. ^ Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies, 2011, pp 655-656.
  7. ^ http://thebluegrassspecial.com/archive/2011/august2011/delois-barrett-campbell-obit.html
  8. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-19/entertainment/ct-ent-0320-jazz-barretts-20130320_1_barrett-sisters-rodessa-barrett-porter-lot-of-gospel-singers
  9. ^ Bob Marovich. "Vanguard". chicagomusic.org. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  10. ^ "CIMMFest". cimmfest.org. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  11. ^ http://www.willyleiseriba.ch/artists/gm.htm
  12. ^ Johnson, Carla K. (2 August 2011). "Delois Barrett Campbell dies at 85". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Reich,H (2006).Gospel-singing sisters still on a high note, Chicago Tribune.

External links[edit]