Gospel legend Albertina Walker died Oct. 8 age 81. The “Queen of Gospel” was born in Chicago and grew up on the South Side, and was a longtime member of West Point Baptist Church, 3556 S. Cottage Grove.
Austin Weekly News interviewed Ms. Walker in 2005 upon her receipt of the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor given by the government to an artist in the folk and traditional arts. She began her career as a teenager, and by 1950 formed her first group.
Singing in the choir, she recalled, awakened her desire to sing professionally.
“I just thank God that I’ve had the opportunity to have the type of career that I’ve had and that the Lord has allowed me to continue to sing despite the ups-and-downs of the past 76 years. I am very grateful,” Walker said.
Walker was born on Aug. 29, 1929.
Solomon Burke-‘King of Rock and Soul’
Another music legend was also lost this past week. Soul and R&B singer Solomon Burke died on Sunday Oct. 10, of natural causes. He was 70 years old. His song “Everybody Needs Somebody” was made famous in the Blues Brothers film (1980). The Philadelphia native was born on March 21, 1940. He appeared in the 1987 movie The Big Easy. Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
In addition, on Sept. 24, record producer Dick Griffey died at age 71. He founded Sound of Los Angeles Records, a.k.a. SOLAR Records, and helped pioneer the R&B sound of the late ’70s and 1980s with such groups as The Whispers and Shalamar. Prior to founding SOLOR, Griffey started Soul Train Records with Don Corneluis.