Friday, August 26, 2011

How Lerone Baker's quest to deify the already grand Cassietta George is wrecking the hard work of Gospel Music Historians

By: Joseph Middleton

Cassietta George (seen at right) was a gem of the Golden Gospel Era. From her days in the early 1950s with the Songbirds of the South, until becoming one of the longest tenured Caravans, there's no doubt she reserved herself a great place amongst the top gospel singers in the history books.

Unfortunately, her nephew's recent actions to honor her name reeks of callousness and ill-hearted intentions. In the past few years, Lerone Baker of Atlanta, GA has released a beyond mediocre, poorly written and poorly researched book that has become both the laughingstock and the bane of the Golden Era Gospel Community. I don't have to remind you that when it comes to the history Golden Era Gospel, it's often hard to get truly correct information when you have different versions of one story coming from different singers. Baker's book only complicates matters that will make the less informed believe they are receiving correct information. Perhaps this stems from the fact that Baker himself is likely misinformed about the rich legacy of the late Cassietta George.

This misinformation has spread to YouTube, causing the deletion of accounts of friends of the Golden Era Gospel Blog such as DJ and Historian, Linwood Heath, Timothy Williams and Emmanuel Jones. In good news, Linwood Heath recently won his counter argument against Baker and had his account fully restored.

This is a message to Lerone Baker from the Golden Era Gospel Community. STOP. CEASE. QUIT. Or to respond with a case of ungrammatical profundity, SITCHOAZZDOWN! It's clear that you are only trying to fill your pocket book and not honor your aunt. Cassietta George truly deserves better than the likes of you representing her. If you truly cared about your aunt's legacy, you would build a platform to raise her up without un-necessarily deriding the names of other members of the Caravans in a libelous manner, publishing outright and easily debunked lies, and claiming works that pre-date your aunt's birth by over 50 years as being owned by her.

Folks, I've done the research, and he's been claiming songs copyrighted by Roberta Martin and James Herndon of the Caravans among others as being his aunt's work. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but in addition to being unethical, isn't that also illegal? Hmm..

To Sonny Austin (son of Roberta Martin), Rev. Herndon, I know you're probably not receiving the proper dues from those copyrighted works, but you may want to speak to a lawyer. He doesn't have the right to claim the hard earned works of Miss Martin and others as his aunt's works.

Lerone Baker, I know you're reading this, and just know that your unkind deeds WILL be stopped. I've got a band of educated scholars and historians, descendants of Golden Era Gospel Singers and even a few Golden Era Gospel Singers on my side and we're ready to debunk your false claims at every turn. Bring it.

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