The Barrett Sisters are an American award-winning gospel trio from Chicago, Illinois. The trio consisted of sisters DeLois Barrett Campbell, Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter. They have been singing together for more than 40 years.
The Barrett Sisters grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Delois was born in Chicago in 1926 to Susie and Deacon Lonnie Barrett, a staunch Baptist from Hickory, Mississippi.
Delois and sisters Billie GreenBey (contralto) and Rhodessa Porter (soprano) spent a good deal of their childhood singing around the house and in the choir of The Morning Star Baptist Church at 3991 South Park Boulevard on Chicago’s South Side. They had seven siblings, four of whom died in childhood of tuberculosis.
In 1936, under the direction of an aunt, choir director Mattie Dacus, the trio teamed up with a cousin named Johnnie Mae Hudson and sang local engagements billed as The Barrett and Hudson Singers. When Johnnie Mae died in 1950, Rhodessa replaced her, and the group was renamed The Barrett Sisters.
While still a senior at Englewood High School, Delores was recruited by The Roberta Martin Singers, a seminal group from the Pilgrim Baptist Church that was known for its stellar roster of lead male voices, notably Robert Anderson and Norsalus McKissick. She toured and sang with the troupe until the early 1960s, when Ms Martin encouraged her to begin an independent recording career in a trio with her sisters, and as a solo artist.
In the mid-1960s, the sisters recorded their first album on Savoy Records, “Jesus Loves Me,” on which they recorded Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful”. They followed with “I’ll Fly Away” and “Carry Me Back” where they were joined with Roberta Martin on “I Hear God”. Ms. Martin sang lead on the title track. In the 1970’s they recorded two albums for Nashboro’s subsidiary label Creed: “God So Loved The World” and “Coming Again So Soon”. Ms. Campbell followed with a solo album also on Creed called “Through It All”. They have recorded more than eleven albums in all.
Over their career, The Barrett Sisters have toured internationally over thirty times. The Barrett Sisters have performed at countless churches and in many respected concert halls including the Lincoln Center in NYC, Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and Theatre-DeVille in Paris, France.
The Barrett Sisters represented the United States in Africa, as Goodwill Ambassadors of 1983, and in the South Pacific for six weeks in 1987. They have also performed for several notable leaders including the King of Sweden and the President of Zaire, Africa. The Barrett Sisters are associated with numerous celebrities and big names in entertainment including the late Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker, Dorothy Love Coates, Thomas A. Dorsey (National Singers Convention), Rev. James Cleveland, Andraé Crouch, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, The Winans, Willie Mae Ford Smith, Jennifer Hudson, and Patti LaBelle.
Radio, television, and film
The Barrett Sisters made their first appearance on radio and television in the 1960s. They have appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,””Bobby Jones Show,” “Living the Dream,” a television tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, PBS special “Going Home to Gospel with Patti LaBelle,” along with Gospel QueenAlbertina Walker, and the “PTL Club.” They’ve been featured several times on the locally produced Emmy Award winning “Jubilee Showcase.” They have appeared on The Stellar Awards, which included accepting 2009 Walgreens’ Ambassador Bobby Jones Legend Award.
The Barrett Sisters are featured in the Gaither Gospel Series videos “Rivers of Joy”(1998) and “Build A Bridge” (2004) which was filmed at The Potter’s House in Dallas, TX.
In 1982, The Barrett Sisters were featured in the critically acclaimed documentary “Say Amen, Somebody,” which features Willie Mae Ford Smith, Sallie Martin, Thomas A. Dorsey, The O’Neal Twins, and Zella Jackson Price. Acclaimed New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael wrote that The Barrett Sisters “bring the film to an emotional pitch, and we in the audience want to go on soaring….” They were also featured on the soundtrack.
They are featured in the 2010 concert film “The Barrett Sisters in Concert,” as well as the 2013 documentary, “The Sweet Sisters of Zion: Delois Barrett Campbell & The Barrett Sisters,” both of which were produced & directed by Regina Rene.