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Br Joseph “Joe” May, Sr

Br Joseph “Joe” May, Sr

Birth
Macon, Noxubee County, Mississippi, USA
Death 14 Jul 1972 (aged 59)
Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia, USA
Burial Millstadt, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 6902200 · View Source
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Gospel singer. Born Joseph May. He was the male counterpart of Mahalia Jackson who was a full voiced tenor of amazing range and power who's voice shook church rafters. Brother Joe was dubbed "The Thunderbolt of the Middle West" by his mentor, legendary gospel singer Willie Mae Ford Smith. Brother Joe May was perhaps the greatest male soloist in the history of gospel music. He was born in a small farm town in Mississippi and raised in the Church of God denomination. It was in 1941, May, along with his wife Viola and children, moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became employed as a laborer. It was here May became known and his reputation spread beyond the heartland of America during the 1940s through his participation in Thomas A. Dorsey's National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses. Later, May began his recording career with two of his biggest sellers: "Search Me Lord" and "Do You Know Him?" His huge success led to offers to appear at major gospel concerts throughout the country. By 1950, May quit his job and continued singing full time. May, unlike Mahalia Jackson, never crossed over to white audiences. He did, however, make a respectable living. May also recorded with one of his seven children Annette, who traveled and performed with her father. Annette herself recorded sporadically in subsequent years and scored a major gospel hit in the 1970s as lead vocalist on "Give Me A Clean Heart" by Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir. An extended stretch of the 1960s found Brother Joe May starring in the musical Black Nativity along with gospel great Marion Williams and after the production played Broadway, it toured the U.S. and Europe. In July of 1972 while traveling to a concert in the small country town of Thomasville, Georgia, May died of a massive stroke. The songs he left behind provide ongoing proof of his majesty and his abiding faith in God.


Brother Joe May
Old Ship of Zion
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXtR5R6wp1c

Bio by: Curtis Jackson


Family Members

Spouse

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  • Created by: Curtis Jackson
  • Added: 2 Nov 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6902200
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Br Joseph “Joe” May, Sr (9 Nov 1912–14 Jul 1972), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6902200, citing Sunset Gardens of Memory, Millstadt, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Curtis Jackson (contributor 46552524) .