Foster Singers

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The Foster Singers were an early Gospel quartet that was originated by R. C. Foster around 1915 in Bessemer. The group's progress was interrupted by his service in World War I, but flourished after his return in 1919.

Members of the group included Foster on tenor, Norman McQueen on lead vocals, Fletcher Fisher on baritone, and Golius Grant singing bass. All were employed in the Woodward Iron Company's ore mines, and mine owner Rick Woodward encouraged their musical activities.

Foster's style, learned from Vernon Barnes who had studied at Tuskegee Institute, was more formal and restrained than some of the other popular groups of the time, but the Foster Singers' musicianship and polish greatly influenced later quartets.

In his later years, Foster brought together a second quartet under the same name with Garrett Polk on lead, Elmore Waters on baritone, and Willie Hood on bass. That line-up continued performing well into the 1950s.

References

  • Seroff, Doug (1980) Album liner notes for the Birmingham Quartet Anthology: Jefferson County, Alabama (1926-1953). Stockholm, Sweden: Clanka Lanka Records. CL144.001-2
  • Seroff, Doug (October 12, 1980) "Birmingham Quarter Scrapbook" for a Quartet Reunion in Jefferson County. Birmingham City Auditorium
  • Boyer, Horace Clarence (1995) "The Emergence of the Jubilee Quartet: The Jefferson County School," pp. 29-33 in How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel. Montgomery: Black Belt Press. ISBN 1880216191