Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RIP Rev. Claude Jeter

Claude Jeter, one of the great voices in gospel music, died last Tuesday.

A few things in his obituary struck me.

First, I simply didn't know the following:

A line he sang in the Swan Silvertones’ 1962 song “Mary Don’t You Weep” — “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name” — inspired Paul Simon to write “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

And then I definitely didn't know the following:

A longtime resident of Harlem, he worked at the Hotel Cecil on 118th Street and occasionally performed.

Now, WKCR has a terrific gospel program called Amazing Grace that airs on Sundays from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., right before the Moonshine Show, and for periods in the late 1990s, I was the host. To think that one of the great voices in gospel music has been living not too far from the station for who knows how many years and that we -- to the best of my knowledge -- never had him up for an interview is a little disappointing. I wonder if there are other undocumented voices that we could be bringing into the studio and capturing for the historical record.

1 comment:

Spencer Jarrett said...

Jeter was also living at the Northern Manhattan Nursing Home on E. 125th St. for many years. His hearing was impaired which made it difficult for him to get the intonation he wanted. A beautiful day was when th Dixie Hummingbirds came en route to a program over in Patterson. In Jeter's room Ira Tucker sang "Thank Him for One More Day," and Jeter sang baritone, Then one of the Sons of the birds sang lead on "Oh Mary." It was a beautiful day in Harlem.