Walker, Albertina

Walker, Albertina, 1929–2010, African-American gospel singer and composer, b. Chicago. A protégé of Mahalia Jackson, she sang with two gospel groups before founding (1951) the Caravans, which, with its hit “Mary Don't You Weep” and many others and its revolving cast of superb singers and musicians (including James Cleveland), became the most popular gospel group of the time. Walker released her first solo single, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” in 1975, and her album Songs of the Church: Live in Memphis (1994) won a Grammy. Acclaimed for her rich contralto voice and her ability as a talent spotter, Walker also wrote more than 50 gospel songs.

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