“The Man in Room 1009”
Jerry Lawson & James Power, feat. the Jerryettes
It’s been a while since someone released a tribute single upon the passing of a gospel artist.
Back in the day, superstars such as Mahalia Jackson, Brother Joe May, Archie Brownlee and James Cleveland received musical tributes upon their passing. Chicago’s Mt. Pisgah B.C. Choir celebrated their own Roberta Martin with an entire album of favorites. The Gospelaires’ 1968 “A Sad Story” gave props to a litany of stone singers gone home to the Heavenly Choir.
The drought is over.
Jerry Lawson & James Power pay loving musical homage to the quartet pioneer Rev. Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones with “The Man in Room 1009,” a newly-penned composition with a folk-blues flair. Named for the room at the Daughters of Jacob Hospital in the Bronx where Rev. Jeter spent his final days until passing away on January 6 of this year, “The Man in Room 1009” weaves lines from the Swans’ classic “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” with stanzas of gratitude for the leader’s musical legacy.
This is no arms-length tribute. Jerry Lawson was lead singer of the soul group the Persuasions, a group that was no doubt influenced by the falsetto quartet singer. James Power visited Rev. Jeter twice: once in August 2008 and again on the singer's 94th birthday on October 26, 2008. Thus, when the duo sings about holding Jeter’s weary hand, it's not poetic license.
Rest in peace, Rev. Jeter, knowing that balladeers Lawson & Power have done you proud.