So, what is My Kind Of Gospel?

An exploration of uptempo gospel music : 1945-1965

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Gibson Family Singers - 1957

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Here is a very nice RCA custom pressing 45 that dates from 1957. It features The Gibson Family Singers, about which I know nothing. One interesting detail is the name 'Howard Bramlett' that is listed under the name of the group. It is not the most common name out there...and it shows up again on a Starday custom record, number 520, with a pair of gospel songs. Is he any relation to the Howard Bramlett listed on this 45? Since I don't have that record, I have no idea. Why is his name even on the record? I understand the 'H.T. Gibson', presumably the song writer, but the other? Was he the leader of the group? Perhaps someone else can help...

In the meantime, enjoy this finely rhythmic record by The Gibson Family Singers.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Some Jubilee styled singing circa 1949.


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Sometimes, you are just lucky. I like to go to estate sales and from time to time there are some 78's to dig through. On this occasion, there were two 78's 'books' filled with records. Some Artie Shaw, Sinatra, Doris Day...etc. Basic post war pop. But then, midway though the second book I came across this fine jubilee styled gospel record.

The Lincoln Gospel Singers on the Regent label. It appears they released two records on this label. These songs were recorded November 3rd, 1949. The members of the group include: Thomas Delaney and Albert Bell (lead), Johnny Hatcher (tenor), Elton Moore (baritone), Clarence Driskel (bass) and Clarence Driskel (guitar).

I am always partial to the jubilee styled quartets and this record is a fine example of that type of singing. Apparently they started recording in 1944 as the Heavenly Four of Alabama. Then in 1945 they cut some sides as the Heavenly Gospel Singers on the Manor label. This can make things somewhat confusing as there was a quartet called the Heavenly Gospel Singers in the 1930's and early 1940's that also sang jubilee style and were quite popular. 

Anyway, this record was a great fine and in great condition. A trip to an estate sale that was well worth the effort. Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Harmoneers Quartet - 1952

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Here we have the first Bibletone release of The Harmoneers Quartet. The Bibletone label was always a bit squirrelly regarding their numbering system. Each group got their own number series. The Harmoneers were the 8000 series, The Waldo Singers from 1950 (posted previously) were 2100 (only to have the series taken over by the Sunshine Boys at 1953), the Homeland Harmony Quartet (again, posted previously) were in the 6000 series. Why this record starts at 8003 is anyones guess. No files from the label remain. I spent quite some time looking for the first three records.....that don't exist. What a mess.......

This record dates from 1952. The Harmoneers Quartet would cut 46 sides for the label between this start, and 1955. Previously, they had been recording on the RCA Victor label. They recorded there from 1946 to 1952. Their first records for the RCA folks were more solemn and hymn-like in nature. Then, the later sides started to pick up the pace. By the time they were on Bibletone, they were in full Gospel Boogie mode. 

It is interesting to see the ad to the left talk about the fast rise of popularity of 'modern gospel music'. That was indeed the case. As the tempos quickened, so did the sales. Quartets in the early 1950's saw their popularity, and record sales, go through the roof. By the early 1960's, Billboard was devoting a whole section of each magazine to gospel music. As it turns out, this record did not receive a mention, nor did any other Bibletone release, in 1952. Not sure what that was all about. The record is a great one and the Harmoneers were one of the great quartets of the era.

So, enjoy The Harmoneers Quartet as they sing about the Heavenly Parade!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Jubalaires - 1946

Here is a great video of the Jubalaires from 1946 singing, Noah. Great Jubilee styled singing. Thank you for posting it 'recquilt'! I hope to post some of their transcription disks soon.

Gospel Stars...another visit with Leroy Waldo.

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Well, this is an interesting twist of fate. I was pulling out records to post online and the previous one was The Waldo Singers. This one, Gospel Stars.....grabbed randomly....actually features Leroy Waldo on piano as well! So here we have back to back records and Leroy Waldo is associated with each. This disc was recorded June of 1949. A total of six records were recorded and released on the DC label in 1949. The Gospel Stars and Mae Gooch were somewhat prolific, recording into the 1970's, at the least....

For more information on this label, and this record in particular, visit this information site: DC Records

The Waldo we know more?


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Here is the first of two releases on the Bibletone label by The Waldo singers. The release of this record is noted in Billboard Magazine Feb. 25, 1950. According to The Gospel Discography, after their two records on Bibletone, they recorded one on Gotham early in 1950, then two final records for Excello in late 1953. Like much of what I post, I didn't have much in the way of additional information regarding this group. So, I did some digging around. First, I took a look in the Gospel Discography and noted that for their Gotham release (Gotham 629), they were called the Waldo Singers of Washington D.C. Then, I found the following from 1954:

This is interesting because it associates Rev. Waldo with the Waldo singers and confirms that they were recording artists from Washington, D.C. I then located this from 1950:

This ad would have been printed around 8 months after the release of the record posted. Again, it ties the group to Washington D.C. and states they are now called the Paradise Echoes, under the direction of H. J. Ford. I am guessing this is the same group, perhaps Rev. Waldo stopped his association with the group, thus the name change for a short period of time. Further digging around unveiled the following from 1983:

This was quite an interesting find. From the contents of the obituary, we see that Pastor Leroy Waldo was blind, played piano and sang. As you can hear from the record, the Waldo Singers were a piano driven group. Rec. Waldo relocated to Washington DC in 1947. It states that he preached his first sermon in 1951 and before that, he was offered a recording contract but it seems he decided not to pursue music professionally. Is this why the group was referred to in August of 1950 as formally the Waldo Singers and under new direction? What to make of the two records on Excello from 1953 as noted in the discography? Perhaps the reference to being offered a musical contract before being called to the ministry refers his 12/8/1958 ordination to the ministry, thus after those last Excello records. 

There are many questions and perhaps I am on the wrong track with all of this. Certainly, the evidence is circumstantial, but it does add up. Perhaps others will  be able to add some additional information. In the meantime, enjoy this great record from one of the many gospel groups about which, sadly, too little is known......

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Southern Stars - 1952

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Here is the first record by the Southern Stars. Recorded in 1952, it is the first of four records they released on Chess Records between 1952 and 1954. As it turns out, this particular record and all of the 78's of record 1520, were mis-labeled. The song is actually 'World's Not In A Bad Condition'. Actual listening to the record bears this out. 

Other then that, there does not seem to be a lot known about this fine, 'rough and tumble' quartet. This is great, heartfelt music! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Off to Ohio for some stipped down gospel....

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Here is another country gospel record that is both raw and heartfelt. From Columbus, Ohio, it is The Glorybound Singers. The liner notes state the group was formed in November, 1974. I am guessing that the LP was recorded in 1975. Yes, this is outside my self imposed time frame for music on this site (once again), but the spirit of the recording and performance places it firmly in the preceding decades. It will not be the last time I post something that is 'new', yet very very old...... 

The record lists the following personal: David Copley (lead singer and guitar), Louise Copley, wife of David (singer and bass), Andy Copley, twin brother to David (singer and guitar), Glacel Perry (bass singer), Carl Gray (tenor singer) and Tennis Hensley (lead guitar). Not much, outside of the info provided on the record jacket, is known about the group. I just find it another compelling country gospel record that was recorded in the age of disco but is clearly from another time. Thank goodness for that.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peacock Records - The first of many....

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The Peacock label out of Houston, Texas, put out numerous top quality gospel records. From 1950 until the well past the cut off point on this site, Peacock would steadily release one great record after another. While not an gospel exclusive label by any means, there were perhaps the best. I hope to post more from this label over time.

Opal Nations has kindly given his permission for me to post some of his liner notes on this site. I will be referring to his work from time to time. This is what he has written regarding The Gospelaires:

"Beginning details of the Gospelaires are sketchy at best. Liner notes to their third Peacock album (Bones in the Valley, PLP 111, 1963) tell that joint-managers Clarence Kendricks and Melvyn Pullen founded the Gospelaires in 1954 and that original members Stanley Landers, Clarence Kendricks, Percy Gowdy, Robert Lattimore (born in 1921) and Melvyn Pullen (born May 2, 1924) were drawn from various churches around the Dayton area."

"The group played around the state and quickly built an outstanding reputation leading up to their appearance on the 15th anniversary celebration for blind pianist and singer, the late Prof. Harold Boggs (who recorded for Nashboro) at his Gypsum Tabernacle in his home town of Port Clinton, Ohio on November 29, 1956. The second half of the three-day celebration was m.c.’d by singer Mary Holt, “The Angel of the Airwaves”, who enjoyed radio and T.V. exposure in Cleveland. Holt presented the Gospelaires as headliners with the Boggs Specials, Mdm L. Raibon of Toledo and The Church of God in Christ Chorus from Mansfield. After this, the group’s reputation spread beyond the New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas."

"In 1957, the Gospelaires recorded one single for Dora and Jimmie Avant in Dallas to launch their Avant label. The songs were entitled “We’re Marching Together”, a song supporting the civil rights in Little Rock, and “Some People Never Stop To Pray”. In October 1957, they were noticed by Don Robey in Houston and signed to Peacock Records. Group personnel at that point included tenor Melvin Boyd (born December 1932), manager/second tenor Melvyn Pullen from Dayton, second lead high tenor Paul Alex “Easy” Arnold (born February 7, 1932), also a Daytonian, baritone Frank L. Peoples from Blairsville, Penn., Robert “Bob” Lattimore of Shelby, North Carolina (born in 1926) who doubled singing bass and playing guitar accompaniment as well as serving as the group’s musical director, and Bob Washington, first lead tenor. Washington (born Paul R. Washington on September 22, 1928) hailed from Beckley, West Virginia and made his home base in Youngstown, Ohio. He started out singing and preaching at his foster father’s church in Youngstown. His foster father was the Rev. E.A. Austin. Paul “Easy” Arnold attended Roosevelt High and was a member of Dayton’s Mt. Olive Church pastored by Rev. McFarland. He sang in the choir and the legendary Revelators
gospel group before serving in the U.S. Navy and going with the Gospelaires. Arnold was the perfect high tenor foil to Bob Washington’s growling, preacherly, sanctified leads."

"Although the Gospelaires were wrecking churches and carving out a name for themselves, their records did not sell in impressive amounts. As Ray Funk pointed out in his two paragraph bio on the Gospelaires in the Galen Gart and Roy C. Ames book
“Duke/Peacock Records” (Big Nickel Publications, 1990), the Gospelaires did not truly ignite until 1962 with the addition of seventeen-year-old “sky high” falsetto Charles McLean form Greensboro, North Carolina."

That will tell the tale for now. If you ever get a chance to pick up a Peacock release by anyone, do so. You will not be disappointed. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Get Away Jordan....head to head...


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From time to time, I will be doing my version of a gospel sing off....placing versions of the same song by two different artists in a single post. Today it is The Caravans vs. The Statesmen Quartet. The Caravans recorded their version on August 25, 1952, in Chicago.  They recorded eight songs that day with all of them divided up amongst several singles and 2 different LP's. This was only the 3rd recording session and these songs formed their 3rd single, most likely coming out late 1952. They would go on to great fame and success over the next 15 years and a form of this group, with different members, is still performing today. The Billboard review proved to be prescient. The Caravans were indeed a group that bore watching.

The Statesmen have been mentioned before on this site, so I will not go into depth once again. It is a bit tricky to date their private label 78's. They started recording them in 1948 and continued to record and release records on their own label until 1956....or so. This is a somewhat early release, so I would date it around 1951-1952. For another version, recorded live by the Statesmen Quartet, you can go here.

As for who influenced who, I am not sure. I have another version of the song by The Trumpeteers, whom I have posted some songs from, that dates to 1949. That version is rather different in structure. These sides by The Caravans and The Statesmen are very very similar. There are other versions of the song that predate those heard here, but I have not heard them. These include versions by the L & N Singers on Federal (1950) and the Davis Sisters on Apex (1949).

I will post more head to head matchups in the future. I think it is interesting to hear how different groups work up the same great songs. In the case of The Caravans and The Statesmen, it is very similar. 

The Dowell family and Semi Moseley, feel the spirit...

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Well, here is a record from my neck of the woods. Recorded at the Sacred Records recording studio in Los Angeles, CA in 1956, this gospel gem is as golden as the wax it was pressed on. I had the good fortune to track down Mr. Buford Dowell, Jr. (first name is mis-spelled on the record) and gather some more details. 

First off, as stated, it was cut in 1956. I had guessed a bit later then that, which goes to show dating some of these records can be tricky. At the time, Mr. Dowell was 16 years old. The record was sold at his father's revival meetings for $1 each. Mr. Dowell believes there were four pressings, with a total of 10,000 total records being sold. As noted on the label, his father played drums. He started out as a western swing drummer in the early 1930's before moving to New Orleans where he started playing with Dixieland Jazz bands, including a time with Harry James. Around 1940, he was converted and from then on he worked as an evangelist, holding revivals throughout the country. He finally settled back in the San Diego area and his son, Buford Dowell, Jr. recorded this record. 

The other aspect of interest is that a 21 year old Semie Moseley is playing the hot rockabilly guitar licks during the first break....and perhaps the shouts of encouragement throughout the record. Buford Dowell, Sr. was friends with Reverend Ray Boatright, the partner and investor who helped Semie Moseley get Mosrite (Mos-Rite....get it?) guitars started in 1956. Well, this connection brought a young Semie into the studio for this session.

It was a real treat to speak with Mr. Dowell about this record and I hope to add more to this story in the future. In the meantime, enjoy this great gospel record. It has great energy and great performances by all involved. Feel the spirit indeed!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to West Virginia

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I obtained this record from the collection of Mr. Hannah of West Virginia. My copy does not have a jacket and the only other one that I have seen was on eBay and sadly, that one didn't have a jacket either. Not sure what that tells me expect there are at least two copies without jackets....or that it never came with one. The other detail I am not sure on is the date. The LP is a Sound of Nashville pressing. The number may indicate that it is from around 1970. This falls outside my own date range for this site, but the music could just as well be from 1960, or 1930 for that matter, so it stays.

This much I do know.....all of the songs on this LP provide a great example of the cross pollination between white and black gospel styles. Listen especially to "The Sun Didn't Shine" and "Ticket". They have the rhythmic intensity of great black gospel, but the pure, down home feel of white country gospel. There is no doubting that this is rural country gospel at any point. This is gospel fusion at its best.

As for dating this record, some basic research shows that the Blair Gospel Trip were indeed active in the late 1960's and according to this ad, in 1969, about the time I suspect this LP was released:

I know there are other records out there by this group and I am always looking. By all reports, they were a well loved group in their part of the country. Based on this one LP, I can understand why. Sadly, Ms. Hester Fry, the female vocalist heard on these recordings, passed away on April 5th, 2010, at the age of 75.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homeland Harmony Quartet Four Pack!


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Speaking of the Homeland Harmony Quartet on Bibletone, here we are! Released at the tail end of 1950, these two releases do a great job of summarizing the up-tempo, 'happy' sound that were trademarks of this quartet.  Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the Homeland Harmony Quartet traveled throughout the southeast, performing at gospel sings, churches, schools and on the radio. Led by Conner Hall (Tenor), they always presented as a top flight, professional group. They are my favorite quartet of the 1945-1952 period.

Here is a review from Billboard magazine. Seems they feel the records have a 'riffy flavor' and that the market for these records are 'farm parlors'. Well, there you go....

Here are some odds and ends from around the time these records were recorded and released, including a picture of the LeFevre Trio in one of the ads. Yes, I will posting some records from them in the future.......

Friday, July 6, 2012

A song.

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By the time of this recording, The Homeland Harmony Quartet had been recording quite prolifically for eight to nine years. Formed in 1947, they had reached the top of the gospel charts with their hit song, Gospel Boogie and had proven a successful seller with numerous records on the Bibletone label since then. By the time of this record release in 1955-1956, things were winding down. They released a total of six records on the 'Liberty' label. I don't know anything about the label itself. Perhaps it was a custom label for their own releases. There would be a few LP releases in the early 1960's, but the steady flow of singles had come to an end. 

The Homeland Harmony Quartet were among the handful of quartets in the late 1940's and early 1950's that could truly be considered top class. Enjoy this do-wop flavored ditty about a beautiful damsel and the need to.....leave it alone!


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The Four Internes were based out of Durham, North Carolina. They started recording in 1951. This particular release was recorded at the King Recording Studios in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 2nd, 1953. The group made their last recordings in 1958. I am fortunate enough to have all the groups output and will be posting more in time. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the men in the this group all worked at a hospital, thus "The Four Internes" became their name.  

The Four Internes are another personal favorite. I have to agree with gospel fan could go wrong with this one..........

Thursday, July 5, 2012

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Well, the Fairfield Four are a real treat. This record was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee sometime in 1949. The Bullet label was quite active during the late 1940's and the early 1950's. They recorded pop, country and gospel. The Fairfield Four got their start on this label in 1946 and made their last recordings in the late 1990's....and I am not talking about being the same group in name only. They actually had many of the same members as they did in the 1940's. This particular record has one of my favorite bass singers,  Isaac 'Dickie' Freeman. He also recorded with The Skylarks on the Nashboro label in the mid-1950's. I will be posting some of their records in the future.

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 Recorded in February of 1949 in Los Angeles California, the Dixie-Aires lay down another fine gospel disc. They were a rather prolific group, recording multiple sides from 1947-1951. They did not confine themselves to gospel, recording many secular sides as well. 

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This record by the Blue Jay Gospel Singers was recorded  April 23rd, 1952 in Jackson, Mississippi. It starts off in a very deliberate manner, but soon kicks into high gear. This, sadly, was the last record they released. There first recordings were made in 1932, when they cut 12 sides for the Paramount label.  From what I can see, they did not record again until 1947, remaining quite active until 1950. A short break ends with this final recording. This particular recording features Charles Bridges (lead vocals), Jimmie Hollingsworth (1st tenor), Dave Davney (2nd tenor), Charles Beal (baritone), Leandrew Woffard (bass).There were personal changes since their inception, but a few members carried on from the beginning. 

Based on following ad, we can surmise they were still performing at least into 1957. 

Billboard sums up the record in its typical two sentence manner. A powerful beat.....with wild sections.....indeed.....