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78’s – Amen – RL Knowles (HY-TONE)

Recorded June, 1947 at the United Broadcasting Studios in Chicago. According to gospel expert Anthony Heilbut, RL Knowles came from Kansas City and built his reputation as the lead singer in Reverend Clarence Cobb’s First Church of Deliverance Radio Choir. The California Death Index says that Robert L. Knowles was born in Oklahoma on September 16, 1915 (the Social Security Death Index gives his birth year as the less plausible 1920). According to Bob Marovich, Knowles was brought from the Metropolitan Spiritual Church in Kansas City to organize and direct the choir at the First Church of Deliverance. The Cobb church was one of the most prestigious in Chicago’s black community. By 1944, Knowles had become prominent enough to put together a major gospel event. The Defender ran his photo with an advertisement for a “Pre-Thanksgiving Service” that he was conducting: Let us come together and thank God for his choicest blessings this Tuesday night, Nov. 21st, at 8 PM at Du Sable High School, 49th and State Sts. Hear these artists in a grand program. Myrtle Jackson, Erma Gwynn, Robert Anderson and group, Amelia Anderson, Cleo Carson and many others. All are welcome to come and receive their blessings. When Robert Anderson, who was duly featured in that 1944 concert, left the Roberta Martin Singers in 1939, he first began singing duets with Knowles. The two, said Heilbut, should be “credited with bringing the ‘ad-lib’ style to church singing: the jazz-influenced runs, the free
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