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Friday, October 8, 2010

"Queen of Gospel" Albertina Wlaker Passes Away

By Mona Austin

The woman who launched the careers of some of the most heralded gospel legends, the original Gospel Caravans--the late Rev. James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, Inez Andrews and Dorothy Norwood--Albertina Walker has passed away.

Held as the beloved  "Queen of Gospel," Chicago-born Walker, took the advice of her friend Mahalia Jackson and founded the legendary Caravans that evolved into worldwide acclaim in the 1950's.  The evergreen "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" became one of their greatest hits.

In early September this year rumors of her death were widespread online, but Walker was in fact hospitalized for respiratory distress and later underwent a Tracheotomy surgery that was reportedly successful.

From the ICU at a Chicago hospital, while connected to a ventilator, she assured her fans via Facebook on September 4:  "I am still here no matter what you have heard."  On September 17, Walker posted a message on www.albertinawalker.com stating: "I praise God for my life, strength and good reports as I rest comfortably at this time. Keep me lifted in prayer as I know God is not through with me yet."

Walker's respiratory ailments were well known within the gospel industry as under the physical circumstances she remained relatively active as an artist.  Due to the love for the music that gave her a name and faith in the God she sang about, she couldn't be stopped.

She appeared wheel chair assisted with an aspirator at major industry events such as The Stellars and GMWA in recent years and touring with the Caravans for their 2006 reunion recording, "Paved the Way."

As of 4:30 a.m. on October 8,  Walker is no longer with us.

Her indomitable spirit lives on in a half a century's worth of rich music recorded on 71 albums.    Like all of the original  members of the Caravans Ms. Walker pursued a solo career.   As the poster child for Chicago-styled gospel, her songs, with their declarative tone and straight forward messages, became the meat of the Black Church experience. Songs such as "I've Got A Feeling Everything Will Be Alright," "Jesus Will Fix It," "Please Be Patient With Me," and "I Can Go To God In Prayer" are all time-tested classics.

Albertina Walker, dead at 81.
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Sunday, October 3, 2010


The longest running show on cable television, Bobby Jones Gospel premiered on BET on Sunday, October 3.  The show kicked off its 30th anniversary year with a full on tribute to the late Walter Hawkins.  Check the schedule below to see when other top gospel and mainstream acts are coming up.

"BET Schedule - October, 2010"
Oct t. 3rd, 2010 – Show #1 **The Walter Hawkins Tribute Special**
Featuring: Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Karen Clark Sheard, Byron Cage, Richard Smallwood feat. Vision, Kim Burrell, & Kathy Taylor

Oct. 10th, 2010- Show #2
Featuring: Jonathan Nelson feat. Purpose, The Soul Seekers, Isaac Carree (Special Guests: Rick Joyner & Stan Jones)

Oct. 17th, 2010- Show #3
Featuring: Prof. James Hall & Voices of Citadel, Earnest Pugh, & Leandria Johnson (Special Guest: Christopher Martin)

Oct. 24th, 2010- Show #4
Featuring: Jonathan Butler, Stephen Hurd, Myron Butler & Levi, & Jason Nelson (Co-Host: BernNadette Stanis)

Oct. 31st, 2010- Show #5
Featuring: Dottie Peoples, Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson, & The Christian Angels

"The Word Network Schedule- October, 2010"
Bobby Jones Presents - Monday - Friday @6:30pm EST
Bobby jones Gospel Classics - Saturdays @ 11:00pm EST

"Gospel Music Channel Schedule -October, 2010"
Bobby Jones Next Generation - Check local listings

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