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Thu, 10.09.1952

The Caravans (Spiritual Vocal Group) is Formed

The Caravans

The 1952 founding of The Caravans Black Gospel singing group is celebrated on this date.

Started by Albertina Walker, the Caravans were a home and spawning ground for producing brilliant spiritual vocal talent.  Based in Chicago, the Caravans produced more gospel vocal artists than any organization at the time. Walker, a Chicago native, founded The Caravans with other former members of the Robert Anderson Singers.  James Cleveland, Bessie Griffin, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews, Casietta George, and Loleatta Holloway all passed through their ensemble's ranks during the 1950s and 60s. All of them became important solo gospel artists, except Loleatta Holloway, who became well-known in dance music.

Until 1956, The Caravans, with Griffin, Norwood, and Cleveland as members, recorded for the States label. In 1958, The Caravans switched to the Gospel label of Savoy Records, with a line-up that included Caesar and Andrews. They took the gospel world by storm and set themselves up as the most popular female group in the gospel. Hard work, talent, a special bond, and teamwork were the difference in their success. Caesar was one of the most intense performers of all time. George, from Memphis, had a down-home yet elegant style.

In 1966, Caesar left The Caravans to pursue evangelism and a solo recording career. After the loss of their main soloist, all the other members of The Caravans left the group within a matter of months. Walker organized another edition of the group that featured Loleatta Holloway, but this arrangement lasted only a few years.  Their years of active service were 1947–1976 and 2006-2010.

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