Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - "Friends"

Feb 28, 2021

For more than 50 years, Evelyn’s singing and songwriting made the Gay Sisters one of gospel’s most influential artists

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When the three Gay Sisters of Chicago walked into the Savoy studios in 1951, a gospel music legend was born. Evelyn, Mildred and Geraldine Gay recorded a powerful version of the old hymn, “God Will Take Care of You” that went on to sell a million copies ... at a time when that just didn’t happen. Other significant hits for those early sessions included “I’m a Soldier,” “The Little Old Church on the Hill,” and “God Shall Wipe All Tears Away.” Evelyn would write hundreds of gospel songs that have been recorded by dozens of major artists.

The Gay Sisters were among the first gospel artists with a regular radio program that was broadcast across the Midwest as part of Pastor Lucy Smith’s influential All Nations Pentecostal Church. The Sisters were also important in the civil rights movement, accompanying Martin Luther King in some of his most difficult movement actions.

You can hear Evelyn’s innovative keyboards and warm, immediately identifiable vocal on this emphatic and joyous 45, titled “Friends.” Released in 1974 on the tiny Gospel Masters label, “Friends” – like most of her songs – would live on in loving renditions by other gospel artists for decades to come.

MUSIC: “Friends,” Evelyn Franklin, 45

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.