Click above song titles to listen/download
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.