BLAIR — When the Rev. Norris Turner went to Sweden to perform at the Stockholm Gospel Festival, he wanted to do so to the best of his ability while in Europe.
Turner, who performed with his daughters Cassandra Nelson and Sharon Turner, did so well organizers want him to come back for shows in Paris this year.
“I don’t know if we’re going or not, but it is a definite possibility,” Turner said. “They were really interested in us coming back. That’s all they talked about.”
Whenever Norris performed, people liked his music.
“They took to our music real well,” Turner said. “They were really jubilant. They did a little dance. We didn’t understand their language, but they understood our singing.”
Turner, who is pastor at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Blair, performed other concerts while in Europe. In all, Turner was scheduled to perform eight shows, but ended up doing nine.
Turner said it was a good experience.
“I enjoyed every moment of it,” Turner said, noting they were treated like stars, traveling first class and in limos.
The Stockholm Gospel Festival had about 5,000 people in the audience. The other shows averaged about 1,200 people.
Turner, who was a member of Golden Stars out of Greenwood, sang about eight songs each show.
Also on the trip from Greenwood with Turner was keyboard player Brandon Norman. When Turner reached Stockholm, he was matched with a bass player and drummer for the eight shows Turner was scheduled to do.
Turner ended up doing nine shows. Besides doing the scheduled show, Turner was asked to perform as a guest at a local festival.
“We were the last ones on the show,” Turner said. “People were getting ready to go. When they heard us singing, they pulled back into the place.”
Turner said that show reminded him of when Jesus performed the first miracle of turning water into wine and didn’t give the good stuff out first.
“That’s what they said, ‘Y’all saved the best for last.’ I said, ‘Oh Lord, I don’t know what went on before we got there, they said they saved the best for last.’”
Turner performed in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.
“That was back in the day,” Turner said.
Turner reminisced about the records he made in the 1960s and 1970s.
“They were played over there,” Turner said. “Per Nortini, he was a record collector over there, he said the people liked our singing over there. They’ve been playing our records ever since.”
Turner said it was nice to have his daughters with him on the trip.
His daughters live in the Atlanta area, so he doesn’t get to sing with them often. He said they are busy performing at weddings almost every weekend.
“We’re family. We always sung together,” Turner said.
Turner works about every other weekend.
“Charleston area is one of my best areas,” Turner said.
He’s popular in Walterboro, Savannah and Rocky Mount, N.C.
Turner did most of his professional singing based out of New York years ago. He came up at the same time as Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls and Aretha Franklin.
One of his more popular songs is, “They Call me Crazy.”
There’s a lesson behind the song, Turner said.
Turner was getting ready to record a pop song when Cooke released, “You Send Me.” Turner was going to cut, “Darling You Don’t Send me no More.”
“I still got the song at home,” Turner said. “My momma wore me out.”
His mother, Helen Turner, told him, “Boy, you were born in the church. You’re going to put the Lord down for the devil? I don’t want to see you no more.”
Tuner was supposed to record a sign a deal but his mother’s words came back to him. He was given money to just show up, with no strings attached.
He talked to his mother, a devout Christian woman, and she said, “I don’t want to see you no more.”
He took the money back and left. The song, “They Call me Crazy,” came from that experience.
“It had a good beat to it,” Turner said.