Gospel Music

Tradition, talent thriving on South Side

The following is an article by Aaron Cohen Special to the Chicago Tribune January 14, 2005 Just like gospel’s relatives in blues and soul, church music has gone through its own split between adherence to longstanding traditions and a move toward more contemporary productions. Some young gospel stars who’ve drawn on current pop trends fill large halls nationwide. But the side that features strong piano and organ soloists, spirited individual vocalists and a time-honored repertoire, remains strong in Chicago. “I know that we’re in the 21st Century and things change, and change is good,” says vocalist Sydne Evans. “But as ...

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Essential Gospel: Classic Recordings – Week 121

“He’ll Welcome Me (To My Home)” Soul Stirrers Specialty 851 1953 [also available on Specialty LPs LP2106 and SPS2137, and on www.rhapsody.com] It may have been akin to heresy for some churchgoers when in 1952 and 1953 the Soul Stirrers – beloved a cappella quartet that they were – began adding organ, piano, and drums to their recordings. Besides the fact that all the superstar gospel quartets were doing it, adding instrumentation and a stronger beat freshened up the quartet sound, made it more modern sounding, more in keeping with the youth-dominated Fifties. Also, pushing the musical envelope had been ...

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Donald McIntyre, Gospel EUR Editor, Passes 1/2/05

From Veda Brown and Black Gospel Promo (www.blackgospelpromo.com): Donald McIntyre, the editor and force behind Gospel EUR, has died. McIntyre, 45, died Sunday morning in Dallas, Texas, said his mother, Mrs. Betty Hornbuckle. In speaking with his mother, who of course is grieving, we were able to get some information. Mr. McIntyre, who lived alone, was discovered in his apartment last Friday. When taken to a local hospital, it was determined that he was in a coma and had suffered brain damage and was only able to breathe through life-support. When asked how she would like for him to be ...

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The Swanee Quintet: Still Holding On, Indeed

Like many quartets that have stood the test of time, the Swanee Quintet has consistently adapted its sound to meet the changing tastes of gospel audiences. Led by the effervescent Reverend Reuben Willingham, the quartet released dozens of remarkable singles and LPs for Nashboro and Creed throughout the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, getting funkier as gospel music adopted the style of its musical progeny, such as rhythm and blues and soul. Today, more than sixty years after its founding, the Swanee Quintet is still going strong. Under the leadership of Percy Griffin, the quartet just released a CD, Still Holding ...

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Essential Gospel – Classic Recordings: Week 120

“How Long, Oh Lord, How Long” Pattersonaires 1965 Chalice C-101 Although the Pattersonaires formed in 1953, they did not make any commercial recordings until 1965, when two singles were released on Stax Records’ short-lived Chalice imprint. The quartet cut several tracks for the Memphis-based label but only four were issued until the early 1990s when Fantasy/Specialty released Free at Last, a sampling of Chalice’s eight released singles and plenty of previously unreleased material. England’s Ace Records issued this same CD in 1993 as Disturb My Soul. However, “How Long, Oh Lord, How Long,” a Rev. Brewster composition issued on Chalice ...

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Call for Contributors – Gospel Music Encyclopedia

From the Center for Black Music Research “Associate” e-newsletter, 12/17/2004: The Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music is to be published by Routledge in Fall 2005. The one-volume encyclopedia will be the first comprehensive reference to cover both African-American and white gospel music. It will discuss all aspects of gospel music, including its history, performers, instruments, recording techniques, broadcast media, styles, and influence on other musical genres. The editors are seeking contributors to submit article manuscripts by February 15, 2005. For more information, visit www.routledge-ny.com/enc/gospel or e-mail gospelmusic@taylorandfrancis.com.

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Classic Gospel — Essential Recordings: Week 119

Farther Along – The Skylarks 1951 Nashboro 513 [available on Pewburner CD 527: Skylarks of Nashville, Vol. 1 (1951-1954); available from www.pewburner.com] In 1951, at the time “Farther Along” was recorded, the Skylarks were Willie Jefferson, Wilson Paige, James S. Hill, and Issac “Dickie” Freeman. Neither “Roberts” – Crenshaw nor Broussard – had joined the organization just yet. While the Skylarks were always a powerful quartet, especially in their early days, the group’s greatest asset was Dickie Freeman, arguably the greatest bass singer in gospel music. Freeman and fellow Skylarks James Hill and Edward Thomas (who had left the Skylarks ...

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Classic Gospel — Essential Recordings: Week 118

“I’m Glad” 1971 The GMWA Mass Choir feat. James Cleveland and Thurston Frazier Savoy LP 14281 “I’m Glad” comes to us from the early years of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), when musical giants roamed the earth. Those were the days when gospel pioneers such as James Cleveland, Thurston Frazier, Mattie Moss Clark, Robert Fryson, and the O’Neal Twins contributed their talents to the GMWA, setting in motion what has become a commercially and artistically successful convention. No disrespect intended to the many wonderful people who organize the GMWA today, but to have such gospel music history collected ...

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Gospel, blues have a night on town

Legendary pianists join, and the keyboards ring By Aaron Cohen Special to the Chicago Tribune November 20 2004, 4:00 AM CST About 80 years ago, a new kind of music shocked some churchgoers. The sound was called gospel blues and its creators, notably Thomas A. Dorsey, caused a stir because they brought tunes from Chicago streets to replace more staid hymns. Friday’s second annual Piano Night at the Old Town School of Folk Music brought together legendary pianists representing the gospel and blues traditions. By the end of the night, the audience could get an idea of how that musical ...

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CD Review: Glory! Glory! Reverend Dwayne R. Mason (The Sirens, 2004)

First of all, kudos to Steven Dolins of The Sirens Records for the consistently high production quality of his releases. This is the second project I’ve heard from this Highland Park, Illinois-based label that has as its mission the preservation of roots piano. Each CD sounds as if the musicians are performing in your living room. This independent label puts some major labels to shame when it comes to musical clarity. In 2003, Rev. Dwayne R. Mason, founder and pastor of Body Soul & Spirit Ministries on Chicago’s south side, graced the label with his prodigious piano talents honed through ...

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