Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Ira Tucker Obituary

Ira Tucker was the lead singer with the Dixie Hummingbirds, the most enduring and best-loved group in gospel music. By the time he joined the vocal quartet, in 1938, the Hummingbirds had already been singing for a decade. Tucker stayed for the next seven, and his 70-year tenure is believed to be a record for any singer with the same group. To put this longevity into context, Mick Jagger will still need to be singing with the Rolling Stones in 2032 to match Tucker.

Over the years, the Hummingbirds' style adapted to changing musical tastes and fashions, from the hymns and spirituals and "jubilee" harmonies of the pre-war years through the harder-edged, emotive timbre of soul-gospel, which defined the group's middle period, to the more eclectic, pop fusion sound favoured by the current line-up.

Ira Tucker was born in 1925 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He grew up singing in church and with a group called the Gospel Carriers. There are different accounts of how he came to join the Dixie Hummingbirds, who had been founded in 1928 by James Davis as the Sterling High School Quartet and under their new name spent the Depression years "wildcatting" around small towns, singing unaccompanied on street corners, in churches and wherever they could.

Complete Obituary can be found at


The Dixie Hummingbirds feature on these 2 Document CDs:



Home Search Affiliates Services