I feel that the Ricky McKinnie gospel singers can adhere to these holy utterances. Even before brothers Ricky and Chuck were born, their mother, Sarah, was awakened many early mornings from her childhood sleep to the melodious sounds of her mother Susie and her father Phil harmonizing as they prepared breakfast for our large family. Our parents were devout Christians. Hymn and note singing we thought were a way of life. Most of us learned to read from the many song books that were always there. When Papa kneeled to pray in that little white church in Henry County, Georgia (Mt. Carmel Baptist), the church members would catch on fire with the Holy Spirit moving from heart to heart. He was a praying man! Sarah started performing around the age of four, and Mama would beam with pride and joy as Sarah would recite and sing. Mama was also a beautiful soprano singer. Mama died when we were all young; Papa carried on and kept the family together, always reminding us of 'what a friend we have in Jesus.'
Ricky enjoyed a sweet but short relationship with Papa (his grandfather). He still remembers how he'd talk to him as they sat together. Papa passed away four months before Chuck, the youngest of Sarah's four children, was born. Sarah, my youngest sister, and Ricky and Chuck's mother, has followed in the heritage of the family - remembering God and seeking his guidance in rearing her family. Praise the Lord! This family plays together, they pray together and they sing together. Ronnie, the oldest, plays the organ and piano. Ricky started on the drums in elementary school. Janice learned the clarinet in middle school. Chuck received his first drum on his second birthday and he later mastered the guitar (fast fingers). When they get together at home you can sit back and listen to love becoming visible. The Ricky McKinnie Singers have other members in the group that I feel are wonderful people and they too help make the group the 'Angelic Sounds of the Ricky McKinnie Singers' (a phrase coined by Atlanta's WYZE Radio disc jockey Deacon Harrison Smith). I, Sarah's second sister, have tried through my reflections to convey to you the spirit of this album, 'I Never Had Love Before'; that is, until you open yourself to the greatest love - the love of Jesus Christ our Savior. To the memory of Mama and Papa, Deacon Phil and Susie Sharpe, we thank God for the heritage you left with us - love!
REFLECTIONS by B. Kate Smith