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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

The Millenial Gospel

If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project, complete with meta essays, headcanons, and playlists. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock." In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers.
posted by divabat on Feb 3, 2014 - 18 comments

The Staples Singers - I'll Take You There

From the 1973 Grammys, here are The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Aug 9, 2013 - 36 comments

make you wanna go to church!

Here's some raw, homespun, electric guitar gospel from a 1950s Checker label release by the Reverend Utah Smith: Two Wings. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 4, 2013 - 8 comments

kickass Jesus music, y'all

The Rev. Charlie Jackson of Louisiana (1932–2006) was a purveyor of some of the rawest, grittiest blues music about Jesus that you've ever heard. In a TV variety show appearance on his one and only concert tour of Europe, the Reverend maintained a warm and friendly manner through a somewhat condescending interview, and went on to perform Wrapped Up, Tangled Up in Jesus with some backing vocal help from the legendary El Dorados.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 19, 2012 - 11 comments

Aretha Franklin's "Amazing Grace"

On January 13 and 14, 1972, Aretha Franklin sang during services at the Reverend James Cleveland's New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The audio recordings released as Amazing Grace remain the largest-selling gospel album in history. However, of the 20 hours of 16mm film footage by Sydney Pollack - intended as a concert movie for tandem release - only a few snippets have ever been seen. (previously: 1, 2)
posted by Trurl on Apr 22, 2012 - 8 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

Must Tell Metafilter

Gospel singer Herman Cain's album "Sunday Morning" is now available online. In the fifteen years since the album was originally released the singer and baptist preacher has also found success in the business world, broadcasting, and politics.
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jul 11, 2011 - 12 comments

popular (folk) song

Satan your kingdom must come down. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 15, 2011 - 31 comments

Hard Luck Guy

Say, you wanna hear a sad song? Eddie Hinton was a guitar player, vocalist, and songwriter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Co-writer of one of the tenderest, sexiest hits of the late 60s, Dusty Springfield's Breakfast in Bed, Hinton was a key member of the world-famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section from 1967 to 1971 (turning down an invitation from Duane Allman to be a member of the Allman Brothers Band) who worked as a studio musician on albums by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, the Staples Singers, and Toots Hibbert, but his early success was sidetracked by mental problems, booze, and drugs. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on May 31, 2011 - 22 comments

"I've Been Thrown Out of Some of the Best Churches in America."

He began his musical career as Georgia Tom, playing barrelhouse piano in one of Al Capone’s Chicago speakeasies... [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Feb 5, 2011 - 4 comments

back in the day...

Blues Houseparty is a fun, entertaining and highly recommended 57 minute documentary that takes us into a Virginia houseparty of 1989, where the assembled Piedmont blues and gospel musicians and their friends pick guitars, sing, dance and engagingly reminisce on the houseparties of old. Amidst hearty laughs, barbecue and general good times, the guests recount personal memories of fun and rowdiness, corn liquor, 500-pound hogs, the devil's music and the Lord's music. There's a whole lot of cultural history on display here, a slice of black American life that is all but gone now. The mood is infectious, to say the least, and the music just keeps getting better and better throughout the film. The next best thing to being there!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 10, 2010 - 13 comments

"Mahalia used to kid me. She'd say, 'Girl, you need to go sing by yourself.' "

Albertina Walker, the reigning Queen of Gospel, has died at 81. [more inside]
posted by magstheaxe on Oct 16, 2010 - 4 comments

"You don't believe in God? Really?" Then I took out my pistol, and shot him.

The trick is to give without looking to receive - to give of yourself to your family, your friends, your community, and the world community with love. The King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke, Archbishop of the House of God For All People and member of the Hall of Fame died on a plane (2) after arriving in Amsterdam. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Oct 10, 2010 - 47 comments

Patmos on my mind

Who's that writing? [MLYT] [more inside]
posted by chaff on Jun 26, 2010 - 10 comments

the amazing Washington Phillips, gospel singer

Have you heard of Washington Phillips? He was possessed of a wonderful voice, and delivered his simple but gorgeous gospel tunes in an easy and utterly unprepossessing style. He accompanied himself not on guitar or piano, as might be expected, but rather on a chiming, delicately ethereal zither, lending a curiously timeless air to his recordings from the 1920s. An altogether unique performer, his music is a real treat for the soul: Take Your Burden To the Lord, What Are They Doing in Heaven Today, Denomination Blues, I Had a Good Father and Mother, Lift Him Up, Paul and Silas in Jail, Mother's Last Word To Her Son and Train Your Children. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 14, 2010 - 23 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

Ambient

On gospel, Abba and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno
posted by Artw on Jan 17, 2010 - 134 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

Joyful Noise

Pilgrim Productions Presents: Voices Across America, an archive of gospel music in a variety of genres, submitted for free play and download by church groups and folk and traditional groups across the country and beyond. Style, age, and quality vary greatly, but fans of noncommercial music will enjoy hunting for the gems of blues, Cajun, bluegrass, choral, shapenote, country, vintage, and mountain gospel and more.
posted by Miko on May 24, 2009 - 15 comments

Modulating for the Lord!

The foot bone connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the hip bone, the hip bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the shoulder bone, the shoulder bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the head bone, now hear the word of the lord...and be sure to check the hover-overs for link details on all this bony business,
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 2, 2009 - 24 comments

The Jim Jones Gospel Hour

The music of the People's Temple. Five years before Jim Jones coerced 900 of his church members to commit suicide in Guyana, the People's Temple cut an album. [more inside]
posted by Bookhouse on Aug 7, 2008 - 24 comments

There's Always One More Time

September 14, 1998 "the Tan Canary" passes away. He started out as a gospel singer but went on to perform blues, soul, county, and jazz. In 1968 he covered the country standard "Release Me" and it became a hit. His audience grew, but stardom outside of his home in New Orleans was not to be his. [more inside]
posted by nola on Jul 6, 2008 - 4 comments

Beats The Hell Out of The Neutron Dance

The Pointer Sisters rehearse. [more inside]
posted by StopMakingSense on Apr 30, 2008 - 11 comments

Gaelic Psalm Singing

THE church elder’s reaction was one of utter disbelief. Shaking his head emphatically, he couldn’t take in what the distinguished professor from Yale University was telling him. "No," insisted Jim McRae, an elder of the small congregation of Clearwater in Florida. "This way of worshipping comes from our slave past. It grew out of the slave experience, when we came from Africa." But Willie Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music at Yale, was adamant - he had traced the origins of gospel music to Scotland. [more inside]
posted by brautigan on Jan 11, 2008 - 96 comments

Link and the Hill

Legendary tremolo guitar king Link Wray discovered him singing gospel with the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and figured he might be the kind of rock'n'roll screamer he was looking for. If he was gonna sing the devil's music, though, he'd need another name, so they came up with a rather unlikely moniker: Bunker Hill. Just listen. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 18, 2007 - 14 comments

You want the Old Skool? You can't handle the Old Skool! You don't even have a clue what the Old Skool is! *chops down door* Here's ...Johnny!!!

Here is Uncle John Scruggs singing and playing Little Log Cabin Round the Lane in RealAudio Dial Up and DSL format. The dancing is great and I do like the walk-on kitten part, myself.

That's from the Center For Southern African-American Music Video Link Page. Their audio link page is a wonder, too with individual artists galore. But, for the real deal, check out the Various Artist compilation album pages. Those may be 20 second of so mp3 clips but, still, those Yazoo, Document and Folkways albums are the bomb and there you get a taste of what they offer. And anywhere you can hear, for example, even a few bars of Blind Alfred Reed's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live ? or Estil C. Ball and Lacey Richardson's Trials, Troubles, Tribulations rules in my world.
posted by y2karl on Jun 29, 2007 - 9 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

y2karl's 78 RPM jukebox-o-rama

For murder ballads, here's your Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins and your Grayson & Whitter's Ommie Wise. Then, for some early white blues bottleneck guitar, here's your Frank Hutchison's K. C. Blues. Not to mention Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues. All courtesy the Internet Archives 78 RPM tag. where there is way more--like Bix Beiderbecke's first record, Davenport Blues, Louis Armstrong's Ain't Misbehavin' and Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words, among many others. Then, for more, Nugrape Records has an mp3 page. The standout there, at least for me, is Gus Cannon's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home. As for their namesake, the Nugrape Twins, well, the Archive has the mp3 of I've Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape. And don't let me omit mentioning PublicDomain4U. They have Mississippi John Hurt's Frankie, for one. Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links will lead you to more 78 RPM goodness. And don't forget the inestimable and erudite vacapinta first directed us to Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine.
posted by y2karl on Aug 25, 2006 - 48 comments

i was standing by the window

Made most popular to many Americans as the closing song for the Grand Ole Opry programs, Will The Circle Be Unbroken was written in 1907 by Ada Habershon, an intensely religious young woman and acquaintance of Dwight Moody and Ira David Sankey. The music was "composed" by Charles Gabriel, a popular songwriter and composer of the era who is often solely credited with the song, but while he may have put the notes down on paper, the tune itself already existed as the African-American spiritual Glory Glory / Since I Laid My Burden Down. [lots more inside]
posted by luriete on May 26, 2006 - 18 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

The Vera Hall Project and Songs by Vera Hall

Vera Hall was a black woman born near Livingston, Alabama at the turn of the century. She grew up in a supportive family and community, but in difficult, poor rural living conditions. At a young age, Hall became a respected and devout member of the church, and remained so for the rest of her years. But after leaving home, she also fell in with more worldly crowd, for whom blues, craps, and alcohol were the entertainments of choice. The tension between these two spheres-- that of spirituals and the church, on one hand, and that of blues and the juke-joint, on the other-- is a theme that recurred throughout her life and infused her music. She drew upon both perspectives to cope with and overcome her life's perennial difficulties; sadly, it was dotted with tragedy: she lost both parents, a sister, a husband, a daughter, and two grandchildren-- all before she herself passed away in 1964 at the age of 58.

The Vera Hall Project [+}
posted by y2karl on Sep 17, 2005 - 5 comments

Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground by Blind Willie Johnson

Ry Cooder once said Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground was the most soulful, transcendent piece of American music recorded in the 20th Century. Unearthly and music of the spheres were common descriptions long before both became fact when it was included on a golden record was affixed to the star bound Voyager space probe. My first encounter with Dark Was The Night was while watching, and then listening to the soundtrack album of, Piero Paulo Pasolini’s The Gospel According To St. Matthew--or as it is known in Sicily kickin' Bootsville, Il Vangelo de Matteo--which is, in my humble opinion, the Greatest. Jesus. Movie. Evar. Ironically, coincidentally and serendipitously, it was an apt choice by Pasolini, as the hymn from which Blind Willie Johnson's wordless moan derives is a song about Christ’s passion—his suffering and crucifixion. (Continued with much more within)
posted by y2karl on Sep 15, 2005 - 67 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

Can I Get An Amen?!!

In the spirit of Sunday morning (and the Martin Luther King holiday weekend), I bring to you the news of a musical release of historical proportions. Dust to Digital has compiled Goodbye, Babylon an exhaustively annotated, beautifully packaged collection of American gospel music from the turn of the century up until 1960. Some performers are recognizable names in sacred and secular music. Others practice lesser known styles like Sacred Harp singing. Non-religionists, don't feel left out, this music is enjoyable strictly on it's musical and historical import, since along with blues, traditional country and Tin Pan Alley, gospel music both white and black is one of the main foundations of modern American music. Judging by the raves it's been recieving, this (admittedly expensive, but worth every penny) box set is destined for a place next to the Anthology Of American Folk Music in the collection of any serious student of American music.
posted by jonmc on Jan 18, 2004 - 15 comments

Vernacular Music from the American Memory historical collections at the Library of Congress

"Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
Approximately one hundred sound recordings, primarily blues and gospel songs, and related documentation from the folk festival at Fort Valley State College (now Fort Valley State University), Fort Valley, Georgia. The documentation was created by John Wesley Work III in 1941 and by Lewis Jones and Willis Laurence James in March, June, and July 1943. Also included are recordings made in Tennessee and Alabama by John Work between September 1938 and 1941. Audio Title Index

The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip
Folk singers and folksongs documented during a three-month trip through the southern United States. Audio Title Index

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music From the Thirties
Materials from the WPA California Folk Music Project Collection, including sound recordings, still photographs, drawings, and written documents from a variety of European ethnic and English- and Spanish-speaking communities in Northern California. The collection comprises 35 hours of folk music recorded in twelve languages representing numerous ethnic groups and 185 musicians. Audio Title Index (As Always, More Inside)
posted by y2karl on Apr 14, 2003 - 12 comments

The best CD I've purchased so far this year is the latest from the Blind Boys of Alabama. this record features superb vocalizing, great bluesy guitar, and a Sones(!) and Tom Waits(!!) cover. In an age where "gospel music" has sunk into the quagmire of "Contemporary Christian", its easy to forget that old-school gospel both black and white were huge influences on rock and roll. Little Richard, for one, took his trademark "Whoo!" from Marion Williams and countless rockers from Aretha to Elvis learned to sing in church. Now, can I get an Amen?!
posted by jonmc on Apr 2, 2002 - 25 comments

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