PastorSam Scott (age 74) invited me to the weekly, Thursday 6:00pm rehearsal of The Pure Heart Travelers at his storefront church, Our Savior ABBA on East Warren in Detroit. The gospel group is rehearsing for their upcoming 48th Anniversary gospel event.
Up drives Sam in the official Pure Heart Travelers van. He opens the building and we wait for the fellow members to arrive.
Rehearsal starts on time. The group runs thru their hour long set of original songs. The high tenor voice of his life long Tennessee friend Jesse, backs up Sam. ”We perform traditional jubilee quartet singing. I have written over 100 songs, and they are all copyrighted. I make sure of that.”
Sam began singing in his Tennessee homeland in 1957. In 1965 he migrated from the farmlands 50 miles from Memphis, to Detroit. “I was 24. Why did I come? Man, to get a job, no future raising cotton, corn and beans.” He worked at Ford for the next 30 years, retiring with a good pension.
“The Union brought us all up. I got married, and raised four kids. Good wages made that happen”.
Sam and his wife Ann (age 73), the last original member of the Heavenly Stars of Detroit, an all female sextet gospel group, were seasoned broadcasters. For 17 years they produced a live Saturday 7:00 AM radio program on WQBH-AM.” If you sing for the Lord, you don’t make any money, but you help many people”.
The next time I saw The Pure Heart Travelers was at their 48th Annual Concert. It was a three hour marathon of musical groups with the Pure Heart Travelers closing the show. For a 74 year old man, Sam is quite imposing. Physically strong and lean, he commands an often stern musical presentation.
Once the Travelers got into a rhythmic groove, they brought the audience to their feet for the pounding musical finale.