So, what is My Kind Of Gospel?

An exploration of uptempo gospel music : 1945-1965

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Royal Chanters...back from the dead.

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Wow. Remember when I mentioned getting a bunch of store stock records up in Louisville? Well, I got this one as well. It is not quite as pretty as the rest. None the less, we have the Royal Chanters singing 'Joy, Joy, Joy' on the King Solomon label. This is record number 1015, their first and was recorded March 25th, 1946.

As you can see from the picture, this record was a mess. As I recall, it was sitting in a box....the bottom of the box.....and had obviously gotten wet over its time in that damp cellar. Parts of the cardboard were still sticking to the shellac and the grooves were filled with crusty deposits of 'who knows what' origin. Then, to top it off, the record is cracked in at least 4 different places. I have had the record for years and had not done anything with it. But as it sat on the shelf, it has always nagged at me. Could it be saved? 

So, I took it down and started to clean it up. I soaked the non-label parts of the record with water, loosening up the cardboard and other deposits from the grooves. All the while, not wanting to disrupt the serious cracks in the record. With time and careful scrubbing, I was able to salvage what you hear. Not too bad if I say so myself!

The flipside of the record is a song called 'Let It Be Known' and is as good as the song I posted. I have cleaned that side as well but the crusty powder is not breaking free quite as easily. I will have to work on that some more. It is not easy to do deep deep cleaning on a record that is broken in 4+ places and not cause more damage....I tell you what! I am sure as soon as I finish I will find a mint copy.....well, at least I hope I do....

The Royal Chanters recorded four records in 1946 and then they faded from the scene. The name of the lead singer was Wilbur Bell. I don't know anymore about the record. Perhaps someone can fill me in. Now, back to careful yet vigorous scrubbing.....

The Wright Family from Tennessee....

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It has been a while since I last posted selections from a country gospel LP, so how about some great music by the Wright Family. This record is from 1971-72 and may be their second LP. Their first, titled 'Down On The Banks Of Jordan', was recorded in 1970. The members of the group include Dow Wright, seen holding the guitar and to his left, his wife Nadine Wright. Their daughter, Marcia Wright, is seen back left and the bass singer, Lonzo McKamey, is back right. The guitar work on the record was done by Gerald Smith, a session musican. This was apparently set up by the recording studio and he was not a part of the groups regular performance lineup. The Wright Family recorded several records over the years. It is the daughter, Ms. Marcia Wright, that you hear doing the majority of the lead singing. She was between 14 and 16 years old at the time of the recording. 

 Mr. and Mrs. Wright are currently residing in Tennessee and while no longer performing, take great pride in their daughter who continues to sing, mostly in local churches. Sadly, Mr. McKamey passed away several years ago.

I find the performances honest and very compelling. Pure singing without a hint of superficial gloss or dramatics. What happened to performances like this.....with heart and soul and nary a hint of pretense? Where has this music gone?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Prophets Quartet - 1959

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Here are some up tempo selections from the inaugural LP  by the Prophets Quartet circa 1959. The Prophets Quartet were, in my opinion, among the premier quartets of the 1960's. You can find more info on this fine group on the Southern Gospel History page.
Below are some newspaper clippings from 1959 and 1960 showing a few of the concert appearances that were being promoted around the time of this LP.


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I took a look back at the various records I have posted and noticed a glaring omission. I had yet to post any country gospel 78's! What have I been thinking? So, here you go. This bit of sacred singing with string band features the Virginia Trio on the Kentucky Records label from 1953. The Virginia Trio is actually Jim and Jesse McReynolds of significant bluegrass fame.  

I do not like to re-write what others have come up with, so here is a link to the story behind this record and why Jim and Jesse decided to use the name Virginia Trio. Be sure to spend some time with that page as it is full of great information.

Needless to say, Jim and Jesse McReynolds would go on to great fame and success in the field of bluegrass. This record is among their earliest and is a fine example of bluegrass gospel singing and mandolin picking.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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Here is a fine record by the Corinthian Singers, better known as the Progressive Four. It was released on the Savoy label in 1948/1949. It is one of the first gospel records released on Savoy, a label known for its fine gospel selections over many years. The Progressive Four (Corinthian Singers) have a long history. Rather then re-write what others have done, check out this page with more information about this group: Marv Goldbergs R&B Notebook. 

According to the Gospel Discography, the Progressive Four started recording for the DC label in 1949. The ad from Billboard, noted top left, would tweak that date just a bit. It references record 8057 in 1948, and that was actually their fifth release on the label. To the right, you see the record I posted as listed for sale in early 1949, along with that of a group that is a personal favorite, the Blue Ridge Quartet.....a record I don't have by the way and from what I can tell, their first release. So if anyone has one lying around....... 

But, that is of small matter. What counts is the music and this is a great one. It came from a bunch of original store stock records that I acquired from the cellars under King's Record Shop in Louisville Kentucky. It was was was damp....and there were boxes and boxes of never played 78's. It was a good day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Some Jubilee on King

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Well, here are a pair of songs off a 10" EP on the King label. You might also see this record floating around on the Varsity or Royal labels. I have the King and Varsity versions of the record and both have the same number stamping in the dead wax. So, I am guessing these were all pressed up at the same place and labels applied as appropriate. 

So, what do we have here? The first song, Didn't It Rain is indeed by The Harmonaires. It was recorded in late 1947. I don't know much about them other then they also did some backing work with "Georgia Peach" (Clara Hudman) on the Apollo label in 1946. With this song, you can hear a straight forward example of 1940's styled Jubilee singing.

As for the second song, Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jerico, you get a chance to listen to Ms. Thelma Carpenter (left) backed by the Amory Brothers, better known as the Ames Brothers (right). This is a bit of an slick, up-town production, but certainly worthy. Ms. Carpenter provides a nice lead and the Amory Brothers do smooth nicely, as would be expected. This is not the sort of pairing that will give you sparks, but they do a nice job with a classic gospel song. 

This is a nice collection of songs from what amounts to a budget pressing.