*Many know her for bringing audiences to their feet on stage with the Gospel award-winning Barrett Sisters trio. Delois Barrett Campbell has died at the age of 85.
The Associated Press reports that the singer died at a Chicago hospital after a long illness, her daughter, Mary Campbell said.
The Barrett Sisters, raised on Chicago’s South Side and coached to sing by an aunt, grew up to become what music critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has called “the greatest female trio in gospel history.” Campbell was the oldest of the three.
“I believe she was born to sing,” Mary Campbell said of her mother in a July 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “Each time she sang it was as if she were performing to a cathedral full of people, no matter how small the group was.”
The trio shared a gospel lineage with the greats. In the girls’ youth, Thomas A. Dorsey, now considered the father of gospel, was stirring up change as music director of the city’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, where he mixed the worldly and the sacred during the Great Depression.
The Roberta Martin Singers, a touring gospel group, emerged from Pilgrim Baptist’s youth choir, and Campbell joined it when she was in high school. The popular music of the Andrews Sisters also influenced Campbell and her sisters. When they were young, they practiced blending their voices on both religious and secular songs. The sisters recorded their first album together, “Jesus Loves Me,” in the mid-1960s.
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