Archeophone Records is releasing on Sept 30, 2016, a book and CD compilation titled Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900. Comprising 102 tracks (almost four hours of audio) on three CDs encased in an illustrated 408-page hardback book, the project explores the earliest days of recording. It chronicles in words, images, and ancient sounds how tradition and technology merged in three distinct areas of recording on each compact disc: commercial, celebrity, and vernacular. Included are track notes, lyric transcriptions, and artist bios. Focusing on the very earliest recordings of the gospel hymns, the project seems set to deliver a treasure trove of archival gems that will give insight into some of today’s beloved songs.
Archive for the ‘Back in the Day’ Category
We like Thursdays. Celebrating good times gone by, we remember the impact of one of Gospel music’s most influential acts, Commissioned. These Detroit boys produced a string of hits that our forever in our hearts. From the archives, we pull some amazing facts and via the wonderful world of youtube, we find some amazing footage of the group performing on Chicago’s Saturday Night Sing television program
Whenever we get an opportunity to remember the heyday of Mass Choirs, we seize the opportunity. Now, truth be told, we got a little misty eyed and waxed nostalgic with news of New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church celebrating its 50th anniversary on October 17th and 18th. An anticipated part of the celebration is the reunion of the New Jerusalem Inspirational Choir. Under the direction of Curtis Hayes and Jeffrey LaValley, New Jerusalem made its mark recording some 10 albums giving us a reason to go to Flint, Michigan to hear Sunday morning church music with HITS that include Everything Will Be Alright (with James Cleveland), The Lord is My Light, I Can’t Feel At Home, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Show Me the Way (with the inimitable voice of the late Bishop Odis Floyd on lead) and the unforgettable Revelations 19 (Hallelujah, Salvation and Glory).
Here’s some throwback music for your listening enjoyment
Noted historian and host of Gospel Memories shines a bright light on the celebrated history of Gospel Music and its origins in the Gospel Music Capital of the world, Chicago, Illinois. In the early days of Gospel Music, Chicago was the home to Thomas Dorsey, Sallie Martin, Roberta Martin, Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, Pops Staples and Sam Cooke.
“The challenge in writing A CITY CALLED HEAVEN was to tell as much of the Chicago story as possible, give it the scholarly treatment it deserves, and at the same time make it a pleasure to read,” Marovich shares. “I also hope the book stimulates readers to learn more about the topics and people I’ve covered, and inspires other cities to examine their own rich African American sacred music traditions.”
While remembered for his work with A-list artists such as James Hall, Tye Tribbett and Hezekiah Walker, Melvin Crispell was involved in dozens of independent projects, many of which we have reviewed and listed below:
Many will remember getting ready for church on Saturday nights and waiting for the 9 o clock hour when the telecast of Reverend Clay Evans and the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago would hit the airwaves. The What A Fellowship Hour featured the church’s dynamic 200 voice choir under the direction of Reverend Evans’ sister, Dr. LouDella Evans Reid. When the choir struck up The Lord’s Prayer, you knew you unequivocally THIS WAS CHURCH.
Prepare to relive those memories as the Fellowship Reunion Choir (now known as the Lou Della Evans Reid Traditional Gospel Choir) prepares for their live recording on Sunday, April 27th. “The truth is, we have never stopped singing together”, says octegenarian Dr. Reed. There was such a great outpour and overflow from the 50 years in music ministry and 75th birthday celebration (that resulted in a CD and DVD), then we were together as we celebrated Reverend’s 85th and my 80th birthday that we decided to keep on running as the Lord gives us the strength to do so. Producer Bryant Jones added, “By no means is God finished with Mama Lou and the choir. We’re gonna go back and hit some of the old and add a little bit of the new as well.”
You can read our review of the CD/DVD here, and enjoy the traditional GOSPEL experience here
Answering a Divine appointment, Gospel singer/songwriter and traveling evangelist Marvin L Winans gathered 8 members in the basement of his home for what would be the organization and founding of the Perfecting Church. A modest total of 13 people would gather for the first service held on May 27, 1989. Some 25 years later, Perfecting Church stands as a house of worship serving over 5,000 members with its 30 ministries that address the needs of the total man, including the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts, the Perfecting Community Care Center, the Amelia Agnes Transitional Home for Women, and the Jenesta McCraw Youth Activity Center. Bishop Winans and the Perfecting Church family are gearing up for a weekend celebration during the month of May. Perfecting Church’s global outreach is felt via its Perfecting Fellowship International with churches in the US as well as in London and South Africa.
And what would a church be without music?????? The music ministry of Perfecting Church was celebrated in two CD’s, Marvin Winans and the Perfected Praise Choir Introducing Perfected Praise (1992) and Marvin Winans and Perfected Praise Choir Friends (2001).
Tony Wilkins is considered by most as an architect of the choir sound from the late 80s well into the 90s. As a composer and musician, Wilkins gave life and breath to LA Mass Choir working with the likes of Donald Taylor and Laythan Armour to create hits as Love Lifted Me, That’s When You Blessed Me and Grace. Grace would find new life some ten years later being covered by Bishop T. D. Jakes and the Potter’s House Mass Choir and winning two Stellar awards.
Today, the California native finds himself leading the saints in praise at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Los Angeles and Full Gospel Baptist Church in Compton, CA. With a career that spans 30 years, Wilkins shows no signs of slowing down and has just released his debut solo project He’s Great, which is available digitally.
Minister Keith Pringle was inspired to form and organize a community choir in the Los Angeles area while sitting in a nightly musical at the Gospel Music Workshop of America . The choir would bear the name, the Pentecostal Community Choir and would record their first album at Reverend James Cleveland’s Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church. That first album would yield such hits as True Victory, Trees and the ever popular Call Him Up (If You Confess the Lord). With 7 recordings, multiple award nominations, numerous concerts and appearances across the United States, the Pentecostal Community Choir now prepares to celebrate their 35th Year with a reunion concert scheduled for May 24, 2014 at the West Angeles Church of God In Christ.
Chicago Tribune music authority Greg Kot grants us insider access behind the music and into the lives of one of the premiere family groups in Gospel music as told through the lens and perspective of music icon Mavis Staples. I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway tells the story of Roebuck Staples, his life in Mississippi and relocation to Chicago, the birth of his children and their use of singing as a daily family activity after Pops returned home from a long day of work. Kot takes us on an open ended journey covering 60 years of music, beginning with Mavis’ recollections of their first performance as a group in their aunt’s church (where they had only prepared one song and sang it again as the encore) to their first recording session arranged by Evelyn Gay. Pops bluesy guitar coupled with their carefully woven harmonies would land them a deal with the Vee Jay label and take the group on to various travels on the Gospel highway as they are introduced to the music giants of the day including Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, Reverend CL Franklin and daughter Aretha, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan and many more. Pops and the Staple Singers would befriend and have close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and their music would instill messages of hope and ignite passion and kindle the fire of the civil rights movement.
I’ll Take You There lives up to its title, taking us through the life changes and adjustments as the group grew in popularity, through the Gospel music years, transitioning into message music and the catapult into the heyday of the Stax and Muscle Shoals jubilee. We get to experience Pervis’ coming of age and leaving the group to pursue other interests including the management of the Hutchinson Sunbeams (who would go on to great success as the Emotions), Mavis’ marriage proposal from Bob Dylan and her collaborations with Prince and Wilco’s Jeff Tweety, Pops’ Grammy win and BeBe and CeCe Winans pay homage to the group with the cover of I’ll Take You There. Reading I’ll Take You There will engender a greater appreciation for the Staples and their sizable contributions to music and society as a whole.