Elizabeth King

King was born in Grenada, MS and grew up in Charleston, where her mother taught her how to sing. She says, “I used to sing hymn songs.” As a child, she was often sick and turned to singing to help her get through. She learned to interpret the songs in her own way as she grew older. She laughs when she says, “I like moving when I sing.” King was married in Memphis and moved to Chicago in 1960. After a concert, King returned to Memphis. The male vocal group had been previously on Halo Records as well as Designer Records. This latter catalog was explored in several outstanding Big Legal Mess releases. She had always dreamed of being backed up by male singers. It worked out. She was told that if they had jealous wives, she wouldn’t. She said, “I stayed with them 33 years.” Juan D. Shipp was a gospel DJ-cum label impresario. He thought he’d get a richer sound than other Memphis gospel music studios. That’s when he found Tempo Studios downtown. It became his favorite. Shipp recalls that it was a small studio, but it sounded great. He also recorded King and the Gospel Souls’ first album in 1972. He later released “I Heard The Voice”, which was sub-leased to the Messenger record label. Shipp says, “When I came to the studio, you worked the devil out if you wanted it to be.” I was working on ‘I Heard The Voice’ and I said, “Sing it as if you are making love to God.” That song skyrocketed. It was #1 for 5 1/2 years. Shipp hired Lynn Askew to play guitar, and Tempo Studios musicians were involved for the rhythm section. While working as a florist in her day job, she was involved in a car accident. This led to the “I Heard The Voice”, B-side, “Waiting on the Lord.” King said, “I had no feeling inside my body.” I could only pray. I was forced to be rescued by the fire department. It was that day that I thought about it, that song.” She still feels pain every day. The single gained popularity quickly after it was released. King says, “I was riding down Union Ave.” “Rev. Shipp, he was [on the radio]. I said, “What, turn up the radio really loud.” Memphis man was standing at the red light. I replied, “It’s you!”. It seemed like they were playing it every twenty minutes. The phone rang. It kept us going anywhere.” King and the Gospel Souls would tour on weekends in order to keep their day jobs and church commitments intact. They would play Saturday and Sunday nights, eat after each concert and return to Memphis by 8 AM Monday morning. King would also attend Sunday church services and help with choir rehearsals on Tuesday evenings. One time, the band was asked to perform at Tennessee State Prison Farm near Nashville, TN. “Everything was locked down ’cause women were fighting. I was terrified. King says, “You talk about someone singing that day! King was a father to 15 children, and sings on Saturday mornings at 10AM on WMQM Memphis. from https://store.fatpossum.com

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