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Sweet Voice of the Swan Silvertones

Published: 1/6/2012
Influential gospel singer Rev. Claude Jeter died three years ago today. After his death, he was remembered on

When Al Green reached into his high falsetto on songs like “Call Me” and “Let’s Stay Together,” the quality of his voice changed, displaying a unique sweetness and gentility. Rev. Claude Jeter, one of the great lead singers of Gospel music and a founding member of the group the Swan Silvertones, was widely known as the sweetest of the celestial singers, reaching beautiful heights with a gentle but forceful voice that helped form the foundation of black music, giving rise to Soul and R&B.

On songs like “Savior Pass Me Not” and “Careless Soul,” Jeter guided the Silvertones, a tight five-piece vocal group. They formed in Kentucky in late 1930s, borrowing their name from a local bakery that sponsored a radio broadcast on which the Silvertones were featured.

Jeter was also known for his versatility. Later in his career, after a brief solo effort, he sang bass for another legendary Gospel vocal act, The Dixie Hummingbirds (alongside fellow famed gospel singer, Ira Tucker, who died in 2008.)

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