You certainly won't mind if I conclude the Easter posts by two further songs of Edna Gallmon Cooke. She was outstanding in many respects, and her artistry is quite unique. Since Edna was featured on this blog recently (viz. her 45 Nashboro # 705 from late autumn 1961), we might just as well have a look at her 1962 LP Stop Gambler! (Nashboro LP # 7009) which includes this and a number of other single releases (several of them, Nashboro # 745 & 760, were only released after the album!). In fact, only four of the twelve songs didn't appear on 45.
Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Had«. The latter is a breath-taking performance, never released outside this LP. I've nowhere heard of a category »lyrical gospel« (seriously used and aimed at general acceptance) but I propose to create it on purpose for this gem of a song which is sui generis:
Edna Gallmon Cooke: »Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Had« from the Nashboro LP # 7009 (1962):
But then we have also the very opposite on this LP: Edna taking her chances at an uptempo shouter, backed by the Singing Sons and actually playing somewhat the second fiddle alongside ... yes, whom? This is the riddle.
|From Billboard, August 21, 1961, p. 34|
Actually, the riddle comes in two parts. First, the Singing Sons (credited on the 45 but not on the back cover of the LP). I found no information about them as such. As male backing group of Edna G. Cooke they are mentioned frequently, but without further details as to their members. A more-than-usual (I hope) profound search on the net (and in the limited number of discographies) turned out the following names: Dave Edrington, Providence Thomas, a certain James Brown (maybe not the famous), Carl Davis, Tommy Ellison, Julius Cheeks, Willie Banks and Johnnie Jones, all members at one time or the other.
Carl Davis (of Richmond, Va.) was part of Edna's Singing Sons for a number of years, before leading the Miami-based Florida Robbins Singers (see more here). He later joined the Swan Silvertones and the Dixie Hummingbirds. He is heard on the Singing Sons' only '60s Nashboro release, # 676 (Oct. 1960). Willie Banks also joined the Florida Robbins Singers after leaving the Singing Sons. Tommy Ellison (from South Carolina) was part of the Singing Sons, together with Julius Cheeks, but both left before 1960. Ellison left for the Sensational Nightingales and later organized his own group, The Five Singing Stars; Cheeks likewise was part of the Nightingales, later of the Soul Stirrers and others. Dave and Providence were members of the group in the mid-'50s but, it seems, no longer in or after 1960. Regarding James Brown (!) and Johnnie Jones I have no further information. In addition, several other names are mentioned in connection with Edna's Singing Sons, viz. Roscoe Robinson (!) and Horace Thompson. I found no conclusive evidence about how and when they were part of Edna's backing group. Finally, there is guitarist Bobby McDougle (of Valdosta, Ga.) who is said to have been recruited as a musician for the Singing Sons at age sixteen, i.e. in or around 1960. Conclusion: The story of the group is utterly confusing, due to many changes over the years and lacking credits, and remains yet to be written.
Second part of the riddle: Whose is the prominent male voice doing the group's lead and, as it were, duetting with Edna in »The Lord Still Answers Prayer«? I have no idea. Any suggestions?
Well, it is no matter of life and death. We'll find out one day. Until then, get carried away here (the musicians got carried away as well ... listen after 00:30, they are about to stumble right out of the song!):
Edna G. Cooke & unidentified singer: »The Lord Still Answers Prayer« from the Nashboro LP # 7009 (rel. 1962):
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|Nashboro LP # 7009 (1962)|
(this label is post-1968, unfortunately ... alas, I do not possess the LP with the original green label)