LOS ANGELES — Gospel and rhythm and blues singer James Phelps, who performed with soul greats including Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke, has died in Los Angeles. He was 78.
Elder Lee M. Harris, who co-wrote an autobiography of Mr. Phelps, said the singer died Tuesday at a Los Angeles hospital, apparently of complications of diabetes.
Mr. Phelps was born in Shreveport, La. In his late teens he moved to Chicago, where he performed with several gospel groups, including the Gospel Songbirds, the Holy Wonders, and the Soul Stirrers.
Mr. Phelps was a founder of the Clefs of Calvary and had a hit, “Love is a Five-Letter Word’’ in 1965 with Chess Records.