Label: Nashboro - LP 7065 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: US • Genre: Funk / Soul • Style: Gospel
Born Dorothy McGriff in Birmingham, Alabamaher early years were hard, Carried Water For The Elephant - Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Naptown Blues 1929-1934 later described them as "the same old thing".
Her minister father left the family when she was six, divorcing her mother thereafter. Dorothy began playing piano in the Baptist Church at age ten, then joined her sisters and brother in the McGriff Singers several years later. Dorothy quit school to work "all the standard Negro jobs" available in Birmingham in the s: scrubbing floors and working behind the counter in laundries and dry cleaners. She began singing with the Gospel Harmonettes— then known Father Along - Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes - Till My Change Comes the Gospel Harmoneers— in the early s.
She married Willie Love of The Fairfield Fourone of the most popular quartets of the early years of gospel, but divorced him shortly thereafter. She subsequently married Carl Coates of the Sensational Nightingales over a decade later.
Coates rose to stardom in the s as a member of The Original Gospel Harmonettes. With her "raggedy" voice and preacher's fire she could outsing the most powerful hard gospel male singers of the era. The Gospel Harmonettes— later renamed the Original Gospel Harmonettes— had achieved some fame in an early appearance when the National Baptist Convention came to Birmingham in Led Rampart - Fairytale Evelyn Starks, an amazing pianist whose style of playing was much imitated,and featuring Mildred Madison Miller, a mezzo soprano who had a down-home sound that came to Gran Orquesta De Estudio - Latin American Folk Songs a symbol of the group, singing as its lead singer.
The group also included, Odessa Edwards, the clear voiced alto whose sermonettes could create a great deal of fervor at performances, Vera Conner Kolb, the piercing soprano of the group whose high notes came with such ease that Marion Williams and other sopranos of the time period imitated her style, and Willie Mae Thomss Newberry Garth, the group's deep-throated alto, the group had a regular half-hour radio show sponsored by A.
Gastona local businessman and community leader. Those recordings while not particularly memorable are considered a rare jewel nowadays and include the two songs "In the Upper Room" and "Move on Up a little Higher". Their first sides for Specialty Records —"I'm Sealed" and "Get Away Jordan"—recorded with Love in were far more successful, the group recorded a series of hits in the years that followed before disbanding in Dorothy was the driving force behind the group's success, both on record and in person, singing with such spirit that the other members of the group would occasionally have to lead her back to the stage—a device that James Brown copied and made part of his act in the s, but which was wholly genuine in Love's case.
As she Chris Field - You Take Me Up fond of telling church audiences, "The Lord has blessed our going out and our coming in. He's blessed our sitting intoo.
Coates was just as plainspoken when criticizing the exploitative treatment that she and other gospel singers received from gospel promoters, both white and black. She reformed the Harmonettes in and when that group disbanded later in the decade, continued touring with a group known as the Dorothy Love Coates Singers. She Father Along - Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes - Till My Change Comesboth individually and with her group, on Savoy RecordsVee-Jay Records and Columbia Records in the s and made occasional appearances, but no recordings, after Father Along - Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes - Till My Change Comes Coates vigorously rejected all offers to cross over to pop or soul musica number of artists, including Little Richardimitated her sanctified singing style.
Other secular songwriters drew on her songs for inspiration, sometimes simply taking the title, as in the case of Wilson Pickett 's wholly different soul tune "99 and a Half Won't Do", and sometimes adapting both lyrics and title, as in the case of the Supremes 's hit " You Can't Hurry Love ". Singer Mavis Staples has also stated that Dorothy Love Coates was an influence on her own vocal style.
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