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"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 comments

You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2011 - 107 comments

Gimme that old-time music

Folk America: Excellent BBC 3-part documentary tracing folk music from the '20s to the folk revival of the '60s, encompassing the depression and the civil rights era. part 1: Birth of a Nation (59.21) part 2: This Land is Your Land (59:30) part 3: Blowin' in the Wind (58:49) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 21, 2010 - 13 comments

"...A Fourth of July picnic, a Sunday Best church revival, an urban rock concert and a rural civil rights rally"

There was a historic music festival in the summer of 1969. But it's not the one that took place in Bethel, NY. The Harlem Cultural Festival ran from June 29 to August 24 that summer, presenting a concert every Sunday afternoon in Mount Morris Park (known today as Marcus Garvey Park). Three hundred thousand people turned out for the six free concerts, hearing acts like Nina Simone , Sly & the Family Stone (the only act to play both Woodstock and the "black Woodstock"), Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Moms Mabley and. Speakers included Jesse Jackson and "blue-eyed soul brother" Mayor John Lindsay. Security was courtesy of the Black Panthers, since the NYC police refused to provide it. Filmmaker Hal Tulchin recorded over 50 hours of concert footage, which has remained unreleased. Historic Films seems to hold the footage; it was supposed to be made into a movie to premiere at Sundance 2007, but its release seems to be continually delayed for reasons unclear. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Aug 20, 2009 - 19 comments

Religion scholars of Judas "feel, in a word, betrayed."

Did a 'dream team' of biblical scholars mislead millions? [Chronicle of Higher Education] You may recall the curfuffle over the gnostic "Gospel of Judas" (previously). The National Geographic's documentary premiere "attracted four million viewers, making it the second-highest-rated program in the channel's history, behind only a documentary on September 11. . . . However, it's a perfect example, critics argue, of what can happen when commercial considerations are allowed to ride roughshod over careful research. What's more, the controversy has strained friendships in this small community of religion scholars — causing some on both sides of the argument to feel, in a word, betrayed."
posted by spock on Jun 30, 2008 - 142 comments

The Gospel of YouTube according to y2karl

Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Too Close
Supreme Angels - Hush Hush
Soul Stirrers - Listen To The Angels Sing
King Louis Narcisse - This Little Light Of Mine
Goldia Hayes with the Harmonizing Four - Beams of Heaven
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Choir - Up Above My Head
Hall Johnson Choir - Little Black Sheep
Norfleet Brothers - I Am A Pilgrim And A Stranger
Caravans - No Coward Soldier
Soul Stirrers - I'm A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord
Gospel Paraders - Have You Got Good Religion
Pilgrim Jubilee Singers - Testify
Imperial Gospel Singers - The Lord Will see You Through
Lucy Rodgers Singers - Hold To God's Unchanging Hand

YouTube in the Holy Spirit--mostly old school black gospel...
posted by y2karl on Dec 4, 2006 - 53 comments

Early Christian Writings

A comprehensive list of early Christian writings gives a list of, links to the online full text of, and articles detailing some of the alternative Christian writings that were and weren't canonized. Of note include the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Justin Martyr, the Didache, the Acts of Thomas , the Gospel of Thomas (which many link with the "Q" from the two-source hypothesis, which attempts to answer the Synoptic problem), and some early apocalyptic writings. [mi]
posted by charmston on Apr 9, 2006 - 16 comments

On the Gnostic Gospel of Judas.

Gnostic Gospel of Judas, they say! Hot on the heels of Christ On Ice and the, er, "newly discovered" Gospel fragment, the news outlets are currently drooling all over National Geographic's recent conclusive dating and translation of surviving fragments of the Apocryphal Gospel of Judas, now dated to about 300 CE. The text is classically Gnostic, emphasizing a duality splitting Christ's "spiritual" and "fleshly" natures, as opposed to Christian orthodoxy's belief in the Incarnation. Looking beyond the wide-eyed "OMG THIS WILL REVOLUTIONIZE CHRISTIANITY AS WE KNOW IT" sensationalism, Internet Monk asks if a 300 year-old apocryphal biography of George Washington would be regarded as authentic were it discovered in 1970. James F. Robinson, an expert on ancient Egyptian texts, regards the Judas Gospel as mostly a dud, produced by Cainite Gnostics who took it upon themselves to "rehabilitate" villians of Bible mythos. Even if you don't believe in the account of Judas, there's no denying his contributions to the Christian narrative. Truly a historical icon.
posted by brownpau on Apr 6, 2006 - 42 comments

It was raining the day mama picked me up from prison

So You Think You Hate Country Music? Then listen to this. The roots of American country music may surprise you. In this series of NPR programs, trace the gradual development of real country music through the first half of the 20th century. Learn how a woman's instrument of the late 1800s, the parlor guitar, became the the central symbol of country and rock; see how African-American musical forms like gospel and blues meshed with the development of country and early rock and influenced the traditional forms in turn; listen to German-Mexican hybrids of accordian style; find out why women had so many honky-tonk torch songs to sing in the late 40s. The series contains hours of content (narrative, interviews, music tracks), and a multitude of excellent links for deeper digging.
posted by Miko on Feb 2, 2006 - 111 comments

Hallelujah

"Precious Lord" sung by Mahalia Jackson (mp3)
No artist brought more acclaim to gospel music than Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972). Beginning in 1950, her divine (.wav) talents were featured weekly on Studs Turkel's radio program, and through her music and gentle personality she became so beloved worldwide that her funeral rivaled that of royalty. Mahalia sang "Precious Lord" at Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral -- at Mahalia's funeral, Aretha Franklin did the honors. Mahalia was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame posthumously in 1997. Word has it she also made a mean okra gumbo.
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 27, 2005 - 6 comments

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