You Don't Have to Ride
April 11, 2015 11:49 AM   Subscribe

You Don't Have To Ride - Gospel Records from My Collection :"I've been collecting gospel records for a little while now and figured it was time that I share. Every day I post at least one track from my collection." You can check out the the house favorites tag for works the author finds "especially astonishing." [via mefi projects]
posted by lalex (12 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Don't miss vathek's extended comments in the Projects post.
posted by lalex at 11:50 AM on April 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nice. I've gotten a few Numero Group collections, and if the blog has stuff like Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir doing "Like A Ship" I'll be so happy.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:30 PM on April 11, 2015

Interesting, I'm glad to know about this. Oddly, though I grew up in the deep south I didn't encounter southern gospel until college where I stumbled on the late-night (after radio stations could really crank their broadcast wattage) Mull Singing Convention from WWL, New Orleans. The Rev. J. Bazzel Mull (and Mrs. Mull) played records of--and flacked the Hell out of--the first version (of, now, three or four) of the Chuck Wagon Gang. This was hard core stuff, not a trace of vibrato in any voice, not a trace of piano. I learned then that a SATB group, all with deep-down country accents, all hitting the right notes at the right time, is a hair-raising experience. (For me, of course; YMMV.) OMG I ordered the four LP package J. Bazzel played and played and played and sold and sold and sold, and they came and I have them still. They are wonderful. (JB was always careful to mention that they were "pressed by Columbia records." When they showed up they were on the Harmony label, but there was nothing wrong with the sound, perfectly respectable transfers from 78s and mono-era 33rpm recordings, no phony-baloney fake-stereo reprocessing.)

One more oddity, considering the source, namely the pretty dreadful redneck-humor TV show Hee Haw. But very often the show closer was Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Grandpa Jones, and Kenny Price formed up as the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet. Buck (from Bakersfield CA) didn't have enough country accent, Roy had too much (Kenny and Grandpa are just right) and they needed a female voice. But they are not playing the stuff for LOLs. They're all well known pros, they're doing their best, and their best is very good indeed. (N.b. Hee Haw wasn't exactly on my Must Watch list, I didn't catch the show often enough to notice this at the time, but judging by what's on YooToob now the Gospel Quartet's repertoire was almost exactly the same as what's on my four Chuck Wagon Gang LPs. It makes me intensely curious to know whether somebody connected with the show, one of the musicians or a producer or somebody, happened to be a J. Bazzel Mull fan, tuned in the Singing Convention often, and maybe had exactly those four disks I have.

Sad sympathy for anyone too twisted up about Jeebus to enjoy gospel. Or the St. Matthew Passion, for that matter.
posted by jfuller at 2:48 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Great stuff!

Baylor University has a collection you can check out on iTunes, for free.

Check out especially the Sensational Sunset Paraders..
posted by hydrophonic at 2:50 PM on April 11, 2015

Oh jeez, it's great to see this here. I had been having sort of a lousy day and it lit me up to pull up Metafilter and see this. Given that it's been nearly three weeks since I posted it I figured it wasn't going to make it to the front page. I'm glad that people appreciate this. Slowly but surely I'm starting to accumulate more Youtube views but my Tumblr activity is pretty much dead, which has been a little disheartening.

I think the best way to browse the blog is to just go through it randomly. While the "house favorite" songs really are my favorites, it's a bit silly that over a third of the posts have the tag - plus the stuff that isn't tagged is still usually just as good. The track I've been listening to the most lately is The Exciting Bells of Harmony, for instance, which is untagged. It's about the untimely death of the singer's friend, emotionally raw but in a very strange way. The most exciting track I've posted recently is perhaps The Singing Four Stars, which is just a small vocal group and clapping with some folks in the congregation yelling in response. One of my favorite things about gospel music is how often one hears these unbelievably charismatic and intense lead vocal performances, as in that song, The Golden Five of Sumter S.C., The Gospel Commanders, or the spectacular version of the great hymn "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today" by Dr. C.J. Johnson. The flourishes on this last one might be a bit much for some people but he just tears it up.

Of course what a lot of people like - for instance, the Numero Group guys - is the funky side of gospel. The high points I've posted thus far in that vein are probably Royal Travelairs, The Mighty Reverlairs, The Soulful Salem Travelers, Union Gospel Singers of Benton Harbor MI, and Joseph Nash. Most of the hot funk stuff tends to be out of my price range. My selection of deep soul and sweet soul is a bit better. I don't know how anyone could really listen to some of these tracks and not feel truly moved. For instance, The Golden Tones, The Reliable True Tones of Chicago, The Mighty Silvertones, The Voices of Nashville, Sons of Glory, and The Southland Mission Singers.

But though that's a more useful entry than the tags, I still think random browsing is probably the best way in.
posted by vathek at 3:55 PM on April 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Given that it's been nearly three weeks since I posted it I figured it wasn't going to make it to the front page.

Do you know that it was discussed in the most recent MeFi podcast? I "voted" for it in Projects and when I saw it on the podcast thread I was surprised it hadn't been posted yet. Really enjoying it.
posted by lalex at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes, it's wonderful. Thank you.
posted by dng at 4:59 PM on April 11, 2015

Speaking of Hee Haw and other syndicated country shows from the 70's - The Marty Stuart Show on the RFD-TV network is a retro callback to local country shows. And the have a regular hymn segment where the band harmonizes on hymns and gospel standards
posted by jkosmicki at 5:40 PM on April 11, 2015

The Royal Travelairs were tight...
posted by jim in austin at 6:18 PM on April 11, 2015

Thank you for this.
posted by destro at 6:57 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, this takes me back to my days working as a dj at an am daytimer in Grand Rapids Michigan back in '76. During the week I did morning drive top 40 in GR, Saturday mornings I hosted Tradio on a small town station 45 miles north, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset I babysat the rudimentary automation at a Christian station. The basement was filled with gospel lps, the bathroom had porn stashed in the paper towel dispenser, and I'd walk out after 10 to 12 solid hours of gospel feeling so goddamned self righteous the folks in the bar next door could hardly stand me at the end of the day. Thanks for this.
posted by Floydd at 9:21 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thanks, lalex, for bringing this to my attention, and many thanks, vathek, for doing it. Splendid stuff!
posted by On the Corner at 12:54 AM on April 13, 2015

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