ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS, SERIES 4, PART 3
Gospel singers livened church services
by Susie Sansom-Piper
Rockdale Reporter - February 17, 2011
Life on the other side of the tracks was always filled with some worthwhile forms of
There were signing groups in every church, sponsored Saturday night playgrounds, baseball
games, sandlot softball and, for those who enjoyed night life, several local cafes
Rockdale even boasted an early Gospel singing group, which broadcast over Milam County
radio stations on Saturday mornings.
RADIO VOICES - Members were: Etta Cartwright Walton, soprano; Willie James Huff, alto;
Lucy Mae Brooks, soprano; Eula Bell Moultry, tenor; Elijah Brooks, tenor; Andrew Walton,
bass; Earnestine Mays, pianist.
Coming from New Hope Baptist Church were the melodious voices of: Ardie Judy, soprano and
pianist and soprano; Pearl Davis, soprano; Lillie Johnston, alto.
Everyone always looked forward to hearing this group sing “While the Blood is Running
Warm in Your Veins” or “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again.”
“Granny” Carrie Randolph was not only a singer but she continued to play the piano for
Sunday School and training union until her stiffened fingers could hardly manipulate the
Also serving New Hope in the music ministry were Barbara McKee, Tamara Hebert Powell,
Debra Boney, Mae Lois Metcalf, Bracy Lovelady and Robert Wortham.
TRIO - Springfield Baptist Church had featured a famous trio. Minnie Mullins contributed
her share of beautiful music, with her deep, heavy contralto voice, while Eva Morgan sang
lead with her shrill soprano.
Earnestine Mays sang soprano and accompanied the group. All of these groups sang at many
local gatherings in the community and in many other church gatherings.
Other musicians who contributed their talent to Springfield were Uneeda Rice, Bennie
Grigsby, Edgar “Buddy” Moultry, Alyce Shields, S. Ross, Lois Dykes and Susie Moultry.
Allen Chapel also boasted unique talent. For many years Cour tney Cummings, Mettie Lynch
and Frankie Moore McDonald accompanied the choir.
Freddie Gray also served as organist for many years. Imogene Gray was also well known for
her melodic soprano voice.
Others who have contributed to the music ministry at Allen Chapel are Mildred Wilhite
Lovelady, Bracy Lovelady, Eric Bradford and Jo Ann Bradford.
NEW TALENT - With the transferring of Rising Star Baptist Church from the Sharp-Tracy
area to Rockdale, new talent was introduced.
Jackie Piper Thomas became church musician. Under the leadership of her father, Rev.
Piper, a citywide fellowship of singing and worship each month was developed. This
fellowship still exists today.
The next musicians were Helen Phillips and Eric Bradford. Present musician is JoAnn
Under her leadership the music ministry has grown tremendously and serves the city of
Rockdale in many capacities.
Jessie Wells served the community as a piano music teacher.
Most of the persons in this article are deceased but there are still some who are active
in music today.