The Godmother of southern gospel piano

I meant to get to this earlier in the week but simply didn’t have my act together, I’m afraid. But it shouldn’t go without noting that there’s a celebration honoring Eloise Phillips, the godmother of southern gospel piano, scheduled for this Saturday, November 6, in Georgia (Roswell, to be exact … 6 p.m., Northside Baptist Church). I had hoped to make it but had to travel last weekend (to Georgia, oddly enough) for work, and two trips in one week makes Avery an even more unproductive blogger (for those interested in attending, Phillips’ daughter tells me there’s a facebook page devoted to the event or you can also contact Tracey directly … again facebook should do the trick, I gather).

Still, the interns suggested that I send a big blog shout-out to Phillips for 60 years of unrivaled mastery of the gospel style. Indeed, one reason far less got done around here this week than I had hoped was that the interns spent hours trolling youtube for decent footage of Phillips in action. They report that someone could do the world of gospel music an eternal favor by capturing some high-quality audio-visuals of Her Eloiseness in action because there appears at the moment to be an astonishing and appalling lack of material. The available clips are invariably muddy, blurry, of poor quality, and often include some off-key voice exuberantly belting out the lyrics right into the camera microphone. To wit:

Though I get how good gospel piano makes you want to sing, in this particular case, it’s rather beyond me how anyone can stand that close to gospel greatness and think that this would be a good time to deliver oneself a spontaneous solo. Then again, perhaps this is fitting, insofar as it captures the way Phillips’ brilliance, humility, and grace have been gilding the southern gospel convention world for lo these many marvelous years.Congratulations, Eloise.

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  1. Diana wrote:

    I don’t suppose you could give us a link to that Facebook event, could you?????

  2. Alan wrote:

    And, I hope that it doesn’t get lost in the comments of Mrs. Phillips’ unparalleled mastery that she taught a fairly decent pianist by the name of Stan Whitmire for 14 years. As the saying goes…nuff said!

  3. Sensible wrote:

    The guy singing solo is not even singing lead. He is singing solo harmony very poorly.

  4. Johnny wrote:

    It all sucks if you ask me.

  5. Robert wrote:

    The video in question is mine. It came from my Youtube site. That particular video holds special memories for me, since it was the first time I ever met or played with Ms. Eloise. I apologize for the singing in the background. I simply handed the camera to a young friend of mine to capture the moment for me, and while his singing isn’t perfect, it didn’t bother me; I was just happy to have the moment on video. I’m sorry to say that I seem to be one of the only people posting recordings of Eloise. If anyone else has some, I’m sure they’re better than mine. I only wish they would post them online.

  6. Shawn Degenhart wrote:

    Miss Eloise is playing the Hammond organ on the first “Influenced” project by Signature Sound. A great lady!

  7. james wrote:

    That was the most pretentious thing I’ve ever read. It completely ignores the spirit of gospel music. I know the person singing, and the other pianist, and they are wonderful people with great spirit and talent. You however, are obviously an oxygen thief with a gaping hole where your heart should be. I hope I have ruined your day. That is all. :)

  8. Robert wrote:

    It might be worth noting that Tracey and Eloise have 2 cd’s out right now. One is a piano duo cd, and the other features Tracey on piano and Eloise on Hammond organ. Currently, these may be the purest recordings of Eloise out there, since there is no singing involved. And, both cd’s are professionally produced.

  9. Charlie Sexton wrote:

    Here’s a video clip from our 2009 Metro Atlanta Gospel Music Convention DVD of Eloise playing piano for the choir. There are other clips of the choir singing with pianist like Lamar Newton, Brenda Gaylor and Sandy Payton playing. Hope you enjoy these. You’ll also notice some notable SG singers in the choir such as Scott Thomas, Chico Nix & Tony Peace. We have another event scheduled for Nov 20 in Hiram, GA. We’d LOVE for you to come join in the fun…

  10. cynical one wrote:

    #7 James — The person singing may be a “wonderful person with great spirit”, but that doesn’t mean he has talent. I’m sure he didn’t realize he was going to be featured on a youtube video of 2 fantabulous pianists, either. He was just caught up in the moment. And that’s ok.

    But there’s a reason why the camera was pointed at the pianists, not him.

  11. Shorty Bradford wrote:

    Where can I find the Eloise and Tracey CD’s? I have checked their Facebook pages and Nothing is mentioned.

  12. Rick wrote:

    Here is a video from Eloise Phillips’ celebration.

  13. Rick wrote:

    Sorry try this

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