b. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 31 January 1997, Newark, New Jersey, USA. A gospel preacher, musician and singer, Banks was born the son of James and Anna Banks, themselves heavily involved in devotional ministry. Much of his youth was thus spent in churches and church choirs, culminating in employment as accompanist for the Byrdett Singers Of Detroit, Mahalia Jackson and the Mary Johnson Davis Singers of Pittsburgh - the latter artist having a profound effect on Banks’ musical and spiritual outlook. He subsequently teamed up with his brother, the Rev. Charles Banks, to tour and record as the Banks Brothers. They jointly organized the Back Home Choir and appeared at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. This was the first time gospel singing had ever been heard at the event. Afterwards, their profile growing, the brothers appeared at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and Hunter College. In the 60s they teamed up with the Greater Harvest Choir and issued a number of albums for Savoy Records, including a gold-certified single, ‘Lord I’ve Tried’. By the 80s Banks had elected to concentrate on a solo career; notable contributors to his 1987 album, Caught Up In The Rapture, included Donald Malloy.
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