Norman B. Wooding Jr., 2013 Oral History


Norman B. Wooding Jr., 2013 Oral History


Norman B. Wooding, Jr.(b. Nov. 28, 1923, d. Oct. 31, 2015). Eight decades singing gospel quartet in Jefferson County, Alabama, at 89, Norman reflects in conversation on the conditions in the 1930’s and 40’s surrounding the development of quartet singing in the Birmingham area and his love for the music. For 12 years, Norman was the President of the Pillars of Birmingham (2005-2012), a local quartet that included in its last manifestation, Henry Burton, Don Solomon, John Lawrence and Bob Friedman. Wooding’s life history is captured in the Four Octave Production video, “Salute to a Soldier” (2013).


Norman B. Wooding Jr.
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


July 13, 2013


Mark Usry
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Norman B. Wooding Jr.


Transcript of audio snippet:

Bob Friedman: Uh, now you were close to gospel music

Norman Wooding: Yeah. Mhm

BF: For your entire life

NW: Mhm

BF: And finally starts to get played

NW: Yeah

BF: And you hear WLAC and WWL

NW: Yeah

BF: You picked up those AM stations

NW: Yeah

BF: Do you remember when you started hearing it on Birmingham stations?

NW: ‘42. I listened to that in 1942, WJLD. I start listenin' there. They was playin it yeah, and they would have live programs. Different quartets would go there through the week. That's what I liked.

BF: You think it's that early? 1942?

NW: Huh?

BF: Cuz they went on the air in April of 1942 for the first time.

NW: I know… We went on the air with them in ‘44

BF: Yeah

NW: with Kelley Choral Singers…

BF: Right

NW: Yeah so they had been going on

BF: Oh. So you knew that they had played

NW: Yeah. Gospel

BF: Gospel before you even… you say well let's give it a try

NW: Yeah. There was a gospel station and an FM station, see.

BF: Well the FM didn't come till 1948.

NW: I’m talking later on…

BF: Yeah

NW: : I’m talking later on… I just said there was an FM an a ‘42 station

BF: Mhm. Mhm

NW: But ’42, I mean on AM they played gospel

BF: Right

NW: Yeah. Real gospel

BF: So now, if you're saying that one of the reasons you approach them with the Kelley Choral Singers. Did you do the approaching or was it McKinstry? Who made the contact?

NW: Stallworth and Johnson had a recorded program in Bessemer and McKinstry approached 'em and he said, “what about we come on live?” So he okayed it. That's how we come on there.


NW: Yeah

BF: And that was still out in Bessemer.

NW: Yeah that was in Bessemer

BF: At the hotel?

NW: Yeah

BF: Mhm

NW: At the...

BF: At the Realty Building

NW: Mhm

BF: Yeah.

NW: But meanwhile William Pope was having programs. William Blevins would have a program on WBRC and other stations.

BF: Mhm

NW: Yeah

BF: He was on WSGN

NW: Right, right, right

BF: Yeah.

NW: Yeah


Full interview: 26 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


1944 - Kelley Choral Singer final.jpg
Wooding 2013 2 min snippet.mp3
Norman B. Wooding Jr 2013.pdf


Norman B. Wooding Jr. and Bob Friedman, “Norman B. Wooding Jr., 2013 Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 13, 2024,

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This Item dcterms:relation Item: Norman B. Wooding Jr., 2007 Oral History