Morehouse College Quartette

Morehouse College Quartette (left to right) S. Samuel Dunson, Andrew J. Taylor, Willis L. James, W. Gamewell Valentine // source: 1923 Morehouse College yearbook, page 81

The Morehouse College Quartette was directed by Kemper Harreld who instructed at both Morehouse and Spelman. Members of the ensemble in 1923 were:

Samuel Sanford Dunson – senior, bass
Andrew Jackson Taylor – sophomore, bass
Willis Laurence James – senior, tenor
William Gamewell Valentine – junior, tenor

Three of the tracks they recorded were released. The double-sided “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” / “Down by the Riverside” record was listed as Okeh’s best-selling vocal record in the New York Sunday News on July 29, 1923.

S. Sanford Dunson became a salesman for Atlanta Life Insurance in Kansas City, MO where he also sang and directed music.

Willis L. James went on to study at the Chicago Musical College and then taught music at Spelman College and was director of its glee club. He also a composer and collector of folks songs.

W. Gamewell Valentine taught music in Austin, TX and Greenville, SC before returning to Atlanta as the director of the Children’s Music School. He was also a journalist for the Atlanta Daily World.

Andrew J. Taylor moved to New York to sing on Broadway and later to Los Angeles to act in motion pictures. His credits include singing with the Hall Johnson Choir and performing in the original casts of “Carmen Jones” and “Porgy and Bess.”