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Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Famous Davis Sisters (African American Gospel Singers) - "Twelve Gates To The City" /"Meet Me In The City"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part IV of a four part pancocojams series about Spiritual and Gospel versions of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City" and "Meet Me In The City").

Part IV showcases several YouTube examples of the Famous Davis Sisters singing "Twelve Gates To The City" or their updated version of that song "Meet Me In The City". Biographical information about the Famous Davis Sisters is also included in that post along with selected comments from two of the discussion threads for those featured examples.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/information-about-early-spiritualgospel.html for Part I of this series. Part I provides information about the Biblical inspiration for "Twelve Gates To The City" and cites some early recordings of this song.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/several-lyric-versions-of-twelve-gates.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases several lyric versions of the song "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City" and "Meet Me In The City"/"Have You Heard Of A City").

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/rev-gary-davis-twelve-gate-to-city.html for Part III of this series. Part III showcases a sound file of Reverend Gary Davis singing "Twelve Gates To The City". Biographical information about Reverend. Gary Davis is also included in that post.

Thanks to the Famous Davis Sister for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the unknown original composers of "Twelve Gates To The City", thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

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SHOWCASE EXAMPLES
Example #1: "Meet Me In The City"- The Famous Davis Sisters [sound file]



Rowoches, Published on Jan 10, 2013

The Famous Davis Sisters of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania singing "Meet Me In The City", which is a later re-make of one of their hits, "Twelve Gates To The City." This is from the Davis Sisters album IN MY ROOM (Savoy, 1967). They performed this rendition on one of Chicago's popular tv shows in the late 1960's.
-snip-
Here are some comments from this sound file's discussion thread (with numbers added for referencing purposes only):
1. saintben2000, 2012
"i don't think people understand how pivotal the davis sisters were. they represented a sense of connection between everyday life and the gospel. it was almost as if they were preaching but singing the sermon. women gospel groups were very aware of a line between the preacher and the choir and the davis sisters blurred that line. you really got the sense that they would whip out a bible at any moment. that was unique for that time. nobody else had it."

**
2. Timothy Williams, 2012
"Love this version better Lawd I Wish that footage was still available them singing this on Jubilee Showcase. And that organ is pumping."

**
REPLY
3. Rowoches, 2012
"That's the late, great Eddie Brown. He was the husband of Evangelist Rosie Wallace (Brown), who pastors the First Church of Love, Faith, & Deliverance in Philly. Many people know Rosie and her choir through the song "God Cares." He also accompanied Marion Williams many times, including in the movie FRIED GREEN TOMATOES when she sings "Didn't It Rain" during the church scene."

**
4. marioparty12345, 2017
"Back when they had tambourines in the recordings and tore up as well πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ"

**
5. ChevyDude65, 2017
"I can only imagine what a meeting would have been like with The Davis Sisters. They sound like the old Fire baptized singers we used to hear years ago. I never thought those days would be gone."

**
REPLY
6. Rowoches, 2017
"Yep, they were from out of the Fire Baptized Church. This ladies were some heavy hitters, for sure! Rough, tough and gutsy voices!"

****
Example #2: The Davis Sisters - "Twelve Gates To The City" ["Meet Me In The City" video]



Trevon Dawson, Published on Jan 9, 2015

The Famous Davis Sisters sing "Twelve Gates To The City" Jesse Dixon on Organ & Thomas Whitfield on Piano
-snip-
Here are some comments from this video (with numbers added for referencing purposes only)
1. Codycole80, 2015
"These women could SANG! Just discovered them here on YT about five years ago and always wondered why I'd never heard of them prior."

**
2. Joey Night Train, 2015
"The sister in back/left side... The handclaps .. She just propels the rhythm. Might someone tell me her name. Thanks for posting"

**
REPLY
3. blavis50, 2016
"that my Aunt Alfreda Davis clapping"

**
4. Auntie Cutie, 2016
"((Shouting))!!! Yeeees Lord!!! Meet In The City!!!"

**
5. Gail Simpson, 2016
"hunny alfreda better be clapping πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚"

**
6. Amondo Floyd, 2016
"alfreda better double clap"

**
7. marioparty12345, 2018
"The song they did here is called “Meet Me In The City” a sped up version of Twelve Gates To The City . Love it anyway tho"

**
5. Steven Majors, 2017
"who's playing the tambourine? Oh by the way your Aunt Audrey and those killer wigs man."

**
REPLY
6. blavis50, 2017
"Steven Majors that is Cynthia Young playing the Tambourine. She also known for nickname Gimpy. After Curtis Dublin died, she would fill in and play the piano for"

**
REPLY
7. Gail Simpson, 2018
"I soooo would love to find a tambourine from that year"

**
REPLY
8. Shonda GospelDiva, 2018
"Okay? Those tambourines would last for YEARS!!!! These little flimsy things they got these days won't last a month in a holiness church... (that includes COGIC, Apostolic, Pentecostal.... you know!)"

**
9. Etirps 902102, 2019
"Haha!!! The woman on the left hand is really badass!! I have never saw one who makes some groove with handclaps!!!!!!!"

****
Example #3: The Famous Davis Sisters "Twelve Gates To The City" [sound file]



malacomg, Published on Mar 29, 2016

Vintage music from the 1950's from one of the pioneers of Black Gospel Music

****
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FAMOUS DAVIS SISTERS
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Davis_Sisters
"The Davis Sisters of Philadelphia, PA were an American gospel group founded by Ruth ("Baby Sis") Davis and featuring her sisters Thelma, Audrey, Alfreda and Edna. Imogene Greene joined the group in 1950, and was later replaced by Jackie Verdell when Greene left to join the Caravans.

Early years
Raised in the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church in Philadelphia, the Davis Sisters were one of the first female groups to sing "hard gospel" of the sort being pioneered by the Dixie Hummingbirds and other male quartets of the day. They achieved a big sound, managing to sound like a choir behind the lead singer by positioning themselves several steps behind the microphone.

[...]

The Davis Sisters also accompanied their singing with the rhythmic and sometimes spontaneous spirited choreography that other singers, such as Dorothy Love Coates and the Ward Singers later made famous; the Davis Sisters were heavily influenced at this time by Gertrude Ward, the organizing spirit behind the Ward Singers and a guiding light for gospel music in America. Ray Charles also modeled the sound of his backup group, the Raelettes, on groups such as the Davis Sisters and the Caravans.

[...]

The Davis Sisters' perpetual hit and theme song: "Twelve Gates To The City", the title of their first album issued on Savoy as MG-14000, still sells today.”...
-snip-
The word "Famous" may have been added to "The Davis Sisters" group name because there also was a White (country music) singing group with that is known as "The Davis Sisters".

****
This concludes Part IV of this four part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Rev. Gary Davis "Twelve Gate To The City" (biographical information & sound file)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a four part pancocojams series about Spiritual and Gospel versions of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City").

Part III showcases a sound file of Rev. Gary Davis singing "Twelve Gates To The City".

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/information-about-early-spiritualgospel.html for Part I of this series. Part I provides information about the Biblical inspiration for "Twelve Gates To The City" and cites some early recordings of this song.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/several-lyric-versions-of-twelve-gates.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases several lyric versions of the song "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City" and "Meet Me In The City").

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-famous-davis-sisters-african.html for Part IV showcases several YouTube examples of the Famous Davis Sisters singing "Twelve Gates To The City" / "Meet Me In The City". Biographical information about the Famous Davis Sisters is also included in that post along with selected comments from two of the discussion threads for those featured examples.

Thanks to Rev. Gary Davis for his musical legacy. Thanks also to the unknown original composers of "Twelve Gates To The City", thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this sound file on YouTube.

****
SHOWCASE RECORDING: 'Twelve Gates To The City' REVEREND GARY DAVIS, Blues Guitar Legend



RagtimeDorianHenry, Published on Mar 29, 2009

****
INFORMATION ABOUT REVEREND GARY DAVIS
From


Several Lyric Versions Of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh! What A Beautiful City" & "Meet Me In The City")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a three part pancocojams series about Spiritual and Gospel versions of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City" and "Meet Me In The City").

Part II showcases several lyric versions of "Twelve Gates To The City".

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/information-about-early-spiritualgospel.html for Part I of this series. Part I provides information about the Biblical inspiration for "Twelve Gates To The City" and cites some early recordings of this song.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/rev-gary-davis-twelve-gate-to-city.html for Part III of this series. Part III showcases a sound file of Reverend Gary Davis singing "Twelve Gates To The City". Biographical information about Reverend. Gary Davis is also included in that post.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-famous-davis-sisters-african.html for Part IV showcases several YouTube examples of the Famous Davis Sisters singing "Twelve Gates To The City" / "Meet Me In The City"/ "Have You Heard Of A City". Biographical information about the Famous Davis Sisters is also included in that post along with selected comments from two of the discussion threads for those featured examples.

Thanks to the unknown original composer/s of this song and thanks to all the known later composers/arrangers of this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

****
LYRICS FOR "OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CITY" (negrospiritual.com)
From http://www.negrospirituals.com/songs/oh_what_a_beautiful_city.htm
"OH ! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CITY

Oh! What a beautiful city!
Oh! What a beautiful city!
Oh! What a beautiful city!
Twelve gates to the city
!Hallelu!

Three gates in-a de east
Three gates in-a de west
Three gates in-a de north
Three gates in-a de south
Making it twelve gates to de city
Hallelu!

My Lord built-a dat city
Said it was jus-a fo’ square
Wanted all-a you sinners
To meet Him in-a de air
Cause He built twelve gates-a to city
Hallelu!

Who are all-a those children
All dressed up in white?
They must be the children
Of the Israelites
‘Cause He built twelve gates-a to city
Hallelu!

Who are all-a those children
All dressed up i[n] red?
They must be the children
That Moses led
The Lord built twelve gates-a to city
Hallelu!

When I get to Heaven
I’m gonna sing an shout
Ain’t nobody up there
Gonna take me out
‘Cause He built twelve gates-a to city
Hallelu!"
-snip-
Pancocojams Editor's note:
It's extremely rare for African American choirs to sing Spirituals in all of the dialect that is found in this song. For example "Three gates in-a de east" is now sung as "Three gates in the east".

Also, the verse

"My Lord built-a dat city
Said it was jus-a fo’ square
Wanted all-a you sinners
To meet Him in-a de air
Cause He built twelve gates-a to city
Hallelu!"

would be sung this way:

"My Lord built that city
Said it was just four square
Wanted all you sinners
To meet Him in the air
Cause He built twelve gates to city
Hallelu!"

However, the words

"When I get to Heaven
I’m gonna sing an[d] shout
Ain’t nobody up there
Gonna take me out"

would probably be sung that way.

****
LYRICS FOR "TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY" ("OH! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CITY") as sung by Reverend Gary Davis
From https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=24482
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 04:32 AM
..."the Digital Tradition lyrics (Mudcat Folk Music Forum's lyric database):

TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY

cho: Oh, what a beautiful city.
Oh, what a beautiful city
Oh, what a beautiful city
Twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah
Three gates in the east,
Three gates in the west,
Three gates in the north
Three gates in the south
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah.

Who are those children dressed in red?
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah
Must be the children that Moses led
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah

My God done just what He said
He healed the sick and He raised the dead.
When I get to heaven gonna sing and shout
Ain't nobody there gonna put me out.

Recorded by Gary Davis"

**
Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 07:26 AM

"The "children dressed in red" verse is a floater and works with innumerable other Gospel tunes like "Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John," "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep," and "I'm Gettin' Ready to Put on my Long White Robe."

****
LYRICS: "TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY" (as sung by the Famous Davis Sisters)
From https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/1179890/The+Davis+Sisters/Twelve+Gates+to+the+City

Three gates in the east
Three gates in the west
Three gates in the north
Three gates in the south
That makes twelve gates to the city Hallelujah

Chorus:
Oh what a beautiful city
Oh what a beautiful city
Oh what a beautiful city
There's twelve gates to the city Hallelujah

Walk right in, you're welcome to the city
Step right up welcome to the city
Walk right through those gates to the city
There are twelve gates to the city Hallelujah

Chorus

Who are those children all dressed in red
Twelve gates to the city
Must be the children that Moses sent
There are twelve gates to the city Hallelujah

Rich and the poor welcome to the city
Young and the old welcome to the city
Weak and the strong welcome to the city
There are twelve gates to the city Hallelujah

Chorus

Chorus
-snip-
These lyrics are attributed to Thelma Davis (a member of the Famous Davis Sisters). However, as presented in Part I of this pancocojams series, the song "Twelve Gates To The City"/"Oh! What A Beautiful City" predates the lyrics that were sung by the Famous Davis Sisters.

****
LYRICS FOR "MEET ME IN THE CITY" (as sung by the Famous Davis Sisters around 1967 on)
Have you heard of a city, streets are paved with Gold
Have you heard of a city, streets are paved with Gold
Have you heard of a city, streets are paved with Gold
And There’s Twelve Gates To The City, Hallelu

Well I’m Crying Oh What A Beautiful City,
Oh What A Beautiful City
Oh What A Beautiful City
Twelve Gates To The City, Hallelu
Three Gates in the East,
Three Gates in the West
Three Gates in the North,
Three Gates in the South

There are Twelve Gates to the City
There are Twenty Four Elders in the City
There are Forty Eight Angels in the City
And They’ll be waiting for me in the City
Yes, were gonna shout Hallelujah in the City
And There’s A Great Big Beautiful City, Hallelu

(Oh Come On) Meet Me In the City
(Meet Me In The City) Meet Me In the City
(Meet Me In City) Meet Me In the City
(City Four Square) Meet Me In the City
(Twenty Four Elders in the City) Meet Me In the City
(Forty Eight Angles) Meet Me In the City
(Streets of Gold) Meet Me In the City
(Why Don’t You Meet Me) Meet Me In the City
(Over In The City) Meet Me In the City
(Mmmm Hmmm) Meet Me In the City
(Over In The City) Meet Me In the City
(Meet Me Yeah) Meet Me In the City
(Meet Me There) Meet Me In the City

And There’s A Great Big Beautiful City, Hallelu"

Source: https://www.lyricsfreak.com/t/the+famous+davis+sisters/twelve+gates+to+the+city_21122157.html
-snip-
Note: "Meet Me In The City" is an uptempo version of "Twelve Gates To The City".

Examples of "Meet Me In The City" are found in Part IV of this pancocojams series.

****
This concludes Part II of this four part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Information About Early Spiritual/Gospel Recordings of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh! What A Beautiful City" & "Meet Me In The City")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a three part pancocojams series about Spiritual and Gospel versions of "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City").

Part I provides information about the Biblical inspiration for "Twelve Gates To The City" and cites some early recordings of this song.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/several-lyric-versions-of-twelve-gates.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases several lyric versions of the song "Twelve Gates To The City" (also known as "Oh What A Beautiful City" and "Meet Me In The City"/"Have You Heard Of A City").

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/rev-gary-davis-twelve-gate-to-city.html for Part III of this series. Part III showcases a sound file of Reverend Gary Davis singing "Twelve Gates To The City". Biographical information about Reverend. Gary Davis is also included in that post.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-famous-davis-sisters-african.html for Part IV showcases several YouTube examples of the Famous Davis Sisters singing "Twelve Gates To The City" / "Meet Me In The City". Biographical information about the Famous Davis Sisters is also included in that post along with selected comments from two of the discussion threads for those featured examples.

Thanks to the unknown original composers of "Twelve Gates To The City". Thanks also to all those who are featured in early recordings of this song and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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THE BIBLICAL INSPIRATION FOR THE SONG "TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY"
From https://www.cinchreview.com/twelve-gates-to-the-city/10682/
..."The song “Twelve Gates to the City” was inspired by chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation, where John’s vision of the New Jerusalem is described.
It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

The walls of the city are said to be made of jasper, and the city itself is described as “pure gold, like clear glass.”

****
INFORMATION ABOUT EARLY RECORDINGS OF "TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY" & LYRICS SUNG BY REV. GARY DAVIS
From https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=24482
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 04:32 AM
...”Here is the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:
Twelve Gates to the City

DESCRIPTION: Spiritual: "Oh, what a beautiful city/There's twelve gates to the city, halleluiah"; "Three gates in the east, three gates in the west/Three gates in the north, three gates in the south."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (recording, Norfolk Jubilee Quartet)

[...]

RECORDINGS:
Marian Anderson, "Oh! What a Beautiful City" (Victor 10-1040, 1943)

Blind Gary [Davis], "Twelve Gates to the City" (ARC 7-04-55, 1937; rec. 1935) (1992, on "Harlem Street
Singer," Prestige Bluesville CD OBCCD-547-2(BV-1015); recorded 1960))

Blind Boy Fuller w. Sonny Terry, "Twelve Gates to the City" (Vocalion 05465, 1940)

Galilee Singers, "What a Beautiful City" (Decca 7765, 1940)

Norfolk Jubilee Quartet, "Oh What a Beautiful City" (Paramount 12929, 1930; rec. 1929)

Pete Seeger & Sonny Terry, "Twelve Gates to the City" (on SeegerTerry)

Pete Seeger, "Beautiful City" (on PeteSeeger18)); "Twelve Gates to the City" (on PeteSeeger42); "Oh, What a

Beautiful City [Twelve Gates to the City]" (on PeteSeeger47)

Sonny Terry [pseud., Saunders Terrell], "Beautiful City" (on Terry01)

[...]

NOTES: I know there are earlier recordings of this piece (it was a showpiece for Rev. Gary Davis), and probably earlier printed citations too, but I haven't found them yet. - PJS

The image of the heavenly city may possibly be derived from Chapter 21 of the Apocalypse, which mentions "the holy city, the new Jerusalem" (21:2), but the twelve gates of the city, three on each side, although mentioned in 21:3, are ultimately taken from Ezekiel 48:30-34. - RBW"

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle."...

****
INFORMATION ABOUT EDWARD BOATNER, AN EARLY ARRANGER OF THE SONG "OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CITY" AS WELL AS SOME OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN SPIRITUALS
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Boatner
"Edward Hammond Boatner (1898–1981) was an African-American composer who wrote many popular concert arrangements of Negro spirituals.

Biography
Boatner was educated at Western University in Quindaro, Kansas, Boston Conservatory and received a Bachelor of Music from the Chicago Music College (Now the College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University). He also studied music privately. He began as a Concert singer with the encouragement and assistance of Roland Hayes — who performed many of Boatner's works on his concert programs—and choral director R. Nathaniel Dett. He also sang leading roles with the National Negro Opera Company. For the National Baptist Convention, he served as the director of music from 1925 to 1931. Boatner was a professor for Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University) and Wiley College in Marshall, TX. He then settled in New York conducting a studio and directed community and church choirs. This allowed him to concentrate more on composing.

[...]

Music
Notable arrangements: [song titles]
Oh, What a Beautiful City

Let Us Break Bread Together

Soon I Will Be Done

Trampling

I want Jesus to walk with me, for Marian Anderson
-snip-
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2018/04/edward-boatner-earliest-known-arranger.html for the related 2018 pancocojams post entitled "Edward Boatner, The Earliest Known Arranger of The African American Spiritual Trampin & Certain Other African American Spirituals"

Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfpvEVssiAM for a YouTube video of a soloist singing "Oh! What A Beautiful City" as arranged by Edward Boatner.

****
This concludes Part I of this three part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.