Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#565 (Week of 4/26/08 - 5/2/08)


"Since Mother's Been Gone"/"Seek And Ye Shall Find"
by The Sacred Four
on Gotham G-625-A/B
released in 1949

Above: Sheet Music for "Since Mother's Been Gone" showing the five members of The Sacred Four.

From Charlie & Pam:
The Sacred Four began singing in Columbia, SC and relocated to North Philadelphia sometime in the late 1940’s. On Nov 13, 1948, the group signed a contract with Ballen Record Company of Philadelphia to record “Come Out Of The Wilderness” and “I’m Waiting For Jesus.” Ivin Ballen ran the Gotham and 20th Century labels and their subsidiaries. The two sides were issued on the short-lived and hard-to-find Phenix label (#1103) in late 1948 or early 1949. Phenix issued only four records before its name was changed to Apex. The Sacred Four release was then repressed on the Apex label (same number). According to the contract, the group was to receive 100 copies of the record and ˝ cent per side on 90% of the records sold.

Members were Gus Gilmore, Rudolph King, James Scott, James Johnson and Effie Ginyard.

From Charlie & Pam:
On December 9, 1949, the Dixie Hummingbirds held their anniversary program at The Met (Broad & Popular Streets, Philadelphia). Also on the program were Thurman Ruth’s Selah Jubilee Singers, the Two Gospel Keys, the Davis Sisters and the Sacred Four.


Above: Label images for Gotham G-625-A/B. The Gotham master numbers are SF-6 and SF-7, while only four released sides are accounted for.

From Charlie & Pam:
The Sacred Four’s second and last release for Ivin Ballen was “Since Mother’s Been Gone” b/w “Seek And Ye Shall Find,” released on the parent Gotham label (#625) sometime in 1949. The fact that sheet music was pressed for this record indicated that it sold better than the first release. On October of that year, group member Rudolph King agreed to sign over the publishing rights to a song he’d written, “Moving Up To That City” to Ballen’s company for $1.00 plus 2 cents per record sold. King resided on the 2200 block of North 13th Street (North Philadelphia) at the time.

Why the Sacred Four didn’t do more records for Gotham is not clear but Billboard Magazine reported on November 8, 1949 that Bullet Records signed the Sacred Four. It’s not known whether this was the same group and no releases by that name were ever known on Bullet.

As a final note, Charlie obtained this copy of the Gotham release in the late 1970’s from Felix Valdera owner of Value and Red Top labels. Felix operated Paramount Records, the largest black owned record store in Philadelphia and had a popular radio show at the same time of the Sacred Four records. The last Felix had heard was that lead singer Gus Gilmore was working for the Philadelphia Water Department, indicating that the group stayed in Philadelphia.

Sacred Four Discography:
Phenix 1103 (also Apex 1103) – Come Out Of The Wilderness / I’m Waiting For Jesus
Gotham 625 – Since Mother’s Been Gone / Seek And Ye Shall Find

Listen to this week's selections by The Sacred Four on Gotham G-625 (1949):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
[Above: The Sacred Four)
       Since Mother's Been Gone
       Seek And Ye Shall Find
       BOTH SONGS played in sequence

  B. Download RealAudio...
       Since Mother's Been Gone
       Seek And Ye Shall Find
  C. Stream/Download** Media Player...
       Since Mother's Been Gone
       Seek And Ye Shall Find
       [**To download Media file, right-click on
       link under C and then click "Save (Link)
       Target As..."]


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