The McCrarys

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An unsung family group from Los Angeles, the McCrary's sang gospel prior to signing with Portrait Records in 1978 for four singles and two albums. Linda, Alfred, Sam, and Charity McCrary sang on the Portrait…
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An unsung family group from Los Angeles, the McCrary's sang gospel prior to signing with Portrait Records in 1978 for four singles and two albums. Linda, Alfred, Sam, and Charity McCrary sang on the Portrait recordings, while another sibling, Howard, had sung with them on a 1972 gospel release, "Sunshine Day." Their most popular singles were "Lost in Loving You," "Love on a Summer Night," and "You" (the latter with Stevie Wonder on harmonica), while their career highlights include opening for the Jacksons and appearing on Soul Train. They sang a fresh, hip, urban style of gospel that was years before its time; they were doing in the early '70s what only became popular decades later.

They also pursued background and session work, appearing on Cat Stevens' Back to Earth album as a group, as well as individual stints for an array of artists. Linda McCrary-Campbell worked on sessions with Andrae Crouch, Phil Driscoll, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Angela Bofill, while Alfred McCrary worked with Yolanda Adams, Michael Card, Andrae Crouch, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, and others. Charity McCrary contributed to work by Gavin Christopher, Lee Garrett, and Melissa Manchester, among others. All the McCrarys wrote songs, but with nearly 90 titles registered with B.M.I. -- including collaborations with Sundray Tucker (aka Cindy Scott) -- Alfred is the most prolific. Howard McCrary recorded the gospel album So Good for the Good News for A&M, and also worked on projects with Helen Baylor, Hanne Boel, the California Raisins, and Changing Faces.

The McCrary's are distant relatives of Sam McCrary (the Fairfield Four) and his brood of McCrarys is from Nashville, TN. Sam's daughter, Ann McCrary, led another McCrary group in the late '80s and early '90s including her father, and since one of the Los Angeles McCrary's names was Sam, it only added to the confusion. Their relationship came to light when Howard McCrary did a session in Nashville and was quizzed about the Nashville McCrarys, prompting Howard to call some kinfolk in Alabama to verify the matter. Howard reunited with his siblings in 1980 for five singles and the album All Night Music for Capitol. The Wayne Henderson production didn't meet Capitol's sales projections and they were dropped.