Odessa Perkins

  • Odessa M. Perkins rose from abject poverty in the rural south to being one of the finest and most well-respected gospel contraltos in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s and 1970s. This article by Opal Louis Nations tells her story.
  • The involvement of Odessa Perkins with the Ward Singers (early 1960’s) needs confirmation. As can be seen in the discography below, the information given in my sources is conflicting.
  • All dates are recording dates.
  • This page lists all known recordings by Odessa Perkins and the groups she was involved in.








West Berkeley, CA (?), 1958
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San Francisco, CA (?), 1959-60
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Ward Singers
Unknown year and location, probably early 1960’s
[table “” not found /]

  • FM LP 306, titled “Move On Up A Little Higher” (click here to see an image of the front cover), could have been issued as by the Getrude Ward Singers as well, but this needs to be confirmed. It was re-issued on Roulette LP 25319 (1966) as by the Clara Ward Singers (self-titled).
  • There’s no information on the line-up given on the LP and my sources are conflicting as one lists Odessa Perkins as being part of the group (the Gospel Discography by Laughton/Hayes) and the other does not (unmentioned in Louis Opal Nations’ article). I’m following the information given by the Gospel Discography.
  • The same confusion exists for Buena Vista LP 3318 (as by the Famous Ward Singers), although in this case the Gospel Discography doesn’t list Odessa Perkins as being part of the group and Opal Louis Nations’ article does. However, from listening to the LP, it appears that Odessa Perkins is not present on this LP (thanks to Per Notini).
  • To add to the confusion: the French issue of the Buena Vista LP (#33VS-564) does list Odessa Perkins…


Odessa Perkins (A), Joe and Odessa (B)
San Francisco, CA (?), 1963-66
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  • These sides were recorded with Joe Garrett on piano. The b-side is a duet by ‘Joe and Odessa’.


Oakland, CA (?), 1968
[table “” not found /]

  • Boola-Boola LP 715 is titled “Letting The Master Have His Way”, click here for scans.


Odessa Perkins’ Sunshine Jubilee
San Francisco, CA (?), 1971
[table “” not found /]

  • Golden Soul LP 2847 is titled “Beyond The Clouds”, click here for scans.