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Sat, 08.23.1924

Wynona Carr, Singer born

Wynona Carr

Wynona Carr was born on this date in 1924. She was a Black gospel and R&B singer.

While growing up in Cleveland, she learned piano, voice, harmony, and arranging while attending the Cleveland Musical College. Two years later, she worked as a member of the famous Wings Over Jordan Choir and The Pilgrim Travelers. In 1949, her first song was released for Specialty Records. "Each Day" and "Lord Jesus" with the Austin McCoy's Combo. She was then listed as Sister Wynona Carr.  She had several hits with Brother Joe May and the Sally Martin Singers.

In mid-1953, Sister Carr recorded a unique gospel song called "The Ball Game," which related the gospel experience in baseball terms that became one of the top-selling gospel records of the day. The flip side was called "I Know By Faith." Later that year, she became organist and choir director for the Rev. L. C. Franklin. In 1954, she did a lot of club dates as part of a triumvirate of gospel singers on the edge of R&B when she teamed with Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight.  In late 1955, Sister Wynona Carr became just Wynona and was now a true rhythm singer. The first Specialty record under her new sound was "Nursery Rhyme Rock" and "Please Mister Jailer."

Many songs were recorded in her new genre and style. In late 1957, Carr was diagnosed with tuberculosis and withdrew from performing or recording. When she had recovered enough in 1959, she signed with Frank Sinatra's new label Reprise Records. However, nothing much became of that association, and Carr returned to her hometown. She was content to remain in and around her hometown and played club dates sparingly over the next few years.

By 1970 Carr had decided to retire from all performing.  In the early 1970s, she suffered from deteriorating health and died in Cleveland in 1976.

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