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THOMAS A. DORSEY

The Father of Gospel Music came to Chicago from Atlanta during World War I and quickly won a name for himself as a composer of blues and jazz. One of his songs was recorded by jazz great King Oliver, and as "Georgia Tom" he recorded a number of blues records as a singer and pianist. The off-color "It's Tight Like That" became a best seller, setting off a fad for double entendre "hokum" blues. But after he lost all the royalties from his hit in a Depression bank crash and suffered a health crisis, Dorsey turned exclusively to gospel music, infusing it with elements of blues and pop. His classic "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" was written in 1932, about the time he organized a gospel choir at Chicago's Ebenezer Baptist Church. In later years Dorsey worked closely with Mahalia Jackson to introduce his new songs.

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