Research

How Gospel Music Influenced Mainstream Hits

By Cecille Richman, Guest Contributor While many might say that gospel music is incredibly niche, the opposite is actually true. Formed out of a mixture of African American folk music and religious hymns, it’s a soulful genre that has inspired countless others. Genres now considered foundational to American popular music, including soul, blues, and R&B, can all trace their history back to gospel. The recent launch of Legacy Music Group is proof of gospel music’s incredible influence and popularity. Hundreds of popular artists have made use of gospel music or gospel musical influences in their discographies. In a ZenBusiness guide ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 6, 2020

“In His Hands” Uncle Chucc & the Zion Messengers Uncle Chucc Music (release date: April 1, 2020) By Bob Marovich When Tyler Perry asked individuals to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in a show of global solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed to come out of nowhere. The spiritual, first published in 1927, entered international pop culture thirty years later when English singer Laurie London recorded it. Not to be outdone, Mahalia Jackson put out a single version. Like London’s disc, Jackson’s climbed up the pop charts. The song has been featured here and there, ...

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Who was Harvey?

The Dali-esque artist who painted nearly 200 Savoy Records album covers during the 1960s–the majority for the label’s gospel series–and signed his work “Harvey” with no surname, has been somewhat of a mystery to record collectors. On David Peterkofsky’s For Keeps podcast, Robbie Rogers shines a light on who Harvey was and what the artist’s work says about his life and times. The enigmatic artist is the basis of Rogers’ master’s thesis, which he is currently working on at Baylor University. He shares some of his findings on the fascinating podcast below.

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Check Out the Trailer for “Detroit: The Gospel Journey”

By Bob Marovich If you think the story of music in Detroit begins and ends with Motown, think again. Detroit’s gospel music legacy goes back many decades, way before Berry Gordy started Hitsville, USA.  The contributions that Detroiters have made to gospel music continue to enrich the genre today. The story of gospel music in Detroit was just waiting to be told by the right person.  That right person is Marcel West.  With great passion and diligence, West spent years mining archival photos, videos, and other rare ephemera, and interviewing the living legends who took gospel music around the world. The result is a documentary DVD called Detroit: The Gospel Journey. The ...

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The Gaithers and Southern Gospel: Homecoming in the Twenty-First Century – Ryan P. Harper

The Gaithers and Southern Gospel: Homecoming in the Twenty-First Century. By Ryan P. Harper. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2017. 326 pp. (printed casebinding). Index. ISBN 978-1-4968-1090-8. $65 By Bob Marovich Rarely have television programs or video franchises received the microscopically detailed analysis that ethnographer Ryan P. Harper gives the Gaither Homecomings in The Gaithers and Southern Gospel. Despite its title, The Gaithers and Southern Gospel is neither a history of Bill and Gloria Gaither nor of southern gospel, although the narrative references significant facts in the histories of both. Instead, it is an examination of how the popular ...

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“Lord, Give Me Strength” – The Prof. Harold Boggs Story

“Lord, Give Me Strength” – The Prof. Harold Boggs Story By Opal Louis Nations During the dark ages of slavery, those African Americans who escaped bondage and headed north to more liberal, free states traveled “The Underground Railroad,” led by those who risked their lives in the name of freedom. Escapees from Southern tobacco plantations, cotton and rice plantations and farms made their way up through Richmond, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Others, taking the route that crossed Lake Erie into Windsor, Ontario, journeyed through Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland or Detroit. This route also took escapees to safe houses in Seville, Medina, ...

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The Rise of Chicago’s Highway Q.C.s During Gospel’s Golden Era (1947-1964)

The Rise of Chicago’s Highway Q.C.s During Gospel’s Golden Era (1947-1964) by Opal Louis Nations When the Famous Blue Jay Singers of Birmingham, Alabama and Soul Stirrers of Houston came to Chicago during and after World War II, both the dynamic, hard-singing Silas Steele of the Jays and the yodeling, melismatic Rebert H. Harris of the Stirrers changed the course of church-going gospel quartet in ways that helped transform the Windy City into a principal hub of gospel activity. As Horace Clarence Boyer put it, Chicago became the center for the development of gospel. Many a young, aspiring quartet singer ...

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Living the Life I Sing: Gospel Music from the Dorsey Era to the Millennium

Living the Life I Sing: Gospel Music from the Dorsey Era to the Millennium (First Edition) Alphonso Simpson Jr. and Thomas A. Dorsey, III, eds. Paperback; 180 pages, with illustrations (Cognella Academic Publishing) https://titles.cognella.com/living-the-life-i-sing-9781634875493.html By Bob Marovich Living the Life I Sing is a fascinating collection of essays from prominent scholars on the creation, development, and impact of African American gospel music. Although gospel’s acknowledged father, Thomas A. Dorsey, is the central figure of the book, he is not its sole concern.  The book covers a variety of facets of gospel music from its West African roots to today. A ...

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Groundbreaking Collection of One-Of-A-Kind Sacred Recordings Set for September 30 Release

CHAMPAIGN, IL & LOS ANGELES, CA (TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2016) — Archeophone Records (www.archeophone.com) today announced that its highly-anticipated book and CD compilation, Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900, will be released on September 30, 2016, and made available via all major brick and mortar and online retailers. With 102 tracks—nearly four hours of audio—on three CDs housed in a beautifully illustrated 408-page hardback book, Waxing the Gospel is an unprecedented exploration of the earliest days of recording. It chronicles in words, images, and ancient sounds how tradition and technology merged in three distinct areas of recording ...

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