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The Heavenly Gospel Singers originally hailed from Spartanburg, South Carolina, but they first came together in Detroit, Michigan during the 1920s when tenor Fred Whitmore first organized a group of friends into a singing group called the Masonic Glee Club. They gradually grew in popularity, securing gigs as far away as Chicago. At some point, the group changed their name to the Heavenly Gospel Singers. By 1930, however, most of the original group was gone, leaving only Whitmore. In addition, the group consisted of lead singer Roosevelt Fenroy, baritone Henderson Massey, and bass Jimmy Bryant. The group was signed to Bluebird and, on August 7, 1935, made their first recordings. They recorded ten sides at their first session in Atlanta, Georgia, including this recording of "Mean Old World." They recorded a further ten songs at a second session in 1936.

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