Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Swan Silvertones - Great Day In December (Vee-Jay 869)


Great Day In December


CLAUDE JETER
1914-2009

One of the last true pillars of Quartet Gospel has left us. I got the news this morning that Reverend Claude Jeter, the 'Father of the Falsetto' passed away on January 5th at the Doors Of Jacob Home in the Bronx.

He came up out of the coal mines of West Virginia and founded one of the most influential vocal groups of all time. Originally known as the Four Harmony Kings, by the early forties they had changed their name to The Swan Silvertones, and were heard all over the South on their popular 15 minute radio show on WDIR in Knoxville. They recorded for King and Specialty before finding a home at Chicago's Vee-Jay Records in 1955. Jeter's incredible voice helped shape the future of Black music, as his trademark falsetto left its imprint on the development of R&B and Soul, not only in Chicago, but in places like Detroit and Memphis as well.

After Vee-Jay went out of business in 1965, Jeter walked away from the music business, and was ordained as a minister by The Church Of Holiness Science. Now singing only at services, he lived quietly in Harlem for many years, as the world passed by outside his door.

There is room at the Inn, my brother... may you rest in peace.