Legally blind, Big DooWopper pulls in Sunday crowds

December 19, 2010 7:50:32 AM PST
Sunday nights at a South Side Baptist church, a unique gospel quartet performs that includes a singer/musician who is legally blind. He is known as the Big DooWopper.

For 30 years, Cornell Williams, the Big DooWopper, has been part of Missionary Baptist Church's Reverend Towns and the Faithful Ones".

Lead singer and pastor Joseph Towns says Cornell is amazing.

"He can play he can play all the music," said Towns. "He plays so good that people come here every Sunday night just to hear him play the keyboard and the organ and sing."

Born partially blind, Cornell lost the rest of his sight from cataracts.

"I was playing music before I lost my sight," he said. "To be frank with you, I have to my credit and to God be the glory 53 years of music experience under my belt as an arranger, composer, vocalist and accomplished Hammond organist.

"My momma used to be an entertainer before I come along, and she had a very rich compelling rich almost organ like contralto, second only to that of the late great Mahalia Jackson.

"I cover all aspects of traditional Afro-American music format from gospel, traditional gospel, blues jazz, rock 'n' roll, doo-wop ,and of course old-time."

Cornell has produced CDs. The second one is a tribute to Mahalia Jackson.

"So many people love him, because he don't let his handicap bother him," said Pastor Towns.

Reverend Towns and the Faithful Ones perform every Sunday night at 7 p.m. Missionary Baptist Church is located at 652 W. 79th Street in Chicago.

For more information on the Big DooWopper and his CDs go to http://www.delmark.com/delmark.766.htm.


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