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

RG-105-AI'm Packing UpReid’s Religious Gems 105
RG-105-BTroubled SoulReid’s Religious Gems 105


San Francisco, CA (?), 1959-60

A-134:34275Come OnAnika 1003
A-134:34276Can't Feel At HomeAnika 1003


Ward Singers
Unknown year and location, probably early 1960’s

Move On Up A Little HigherFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Waiting For MeFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Swing Low Sweet ChariotFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
JoshuaFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
BabylonFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Go Down MosesFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Resurrection MorningFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Walk With MeFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Bye And ByeFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Blessed Assurance FM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Whiter Than SnowFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319
Get Away JordanFM LP 306, Roulette LP 25319

  • 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

DV-100-ATell GodChap-Perk 100
DV-100-BNothing BetweenChap-Perk 100

  • These sides were recorded with Joe Garrett on piano. The b-side is a duet by ‘Joe and Odessa’.


Oakland, CA (?), 1968

You're Going To Make ItBoola-Boola LP 715
Packing UpBoola-Boola LP 715
Reach OutBoola-Boola LP 715
Never Pass This WayBoola-Boola LP 715
You Can't Beat God GivingBoola-Boola LP 715
Talk With JesusBoola-Boola LP 715
RedeemBoola-Boola LP 715
I BelieveBoola-Boola LP 715
Letting The MasterBoola-Boola LP 715
Blessed Are TheyBoola-Boola LP 715

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


Odessa Perkins’ Sunshine Jubilee
San Francisco, CA (?), 1971

Put A Little Love In Your HeartGolden Soul LP 2847
The Man Beyond The CloudsGolden Soul LP 2847
TreesGolden Soul LP 2847
There Must Be A GodGolden Soul LP 2847
I've Made It OverGolden Soul LP 2847
The Green Green GrassGolden Soul LP 2847
How Great Thou ArtGolden Soul LP 2847
Holy Ghost’s Got MeGolden Soul LP 2847
SaintsGolden Soul LP 2847

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