Monday, August 04, 2008

Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

Continuing the biblical trend and inspired by watching Last Choir Standing I've been playing a lot of gospel music over the weekend. For me the best choirs I've seen on the programme are the gospel ones. We all know what Gospel music is, but why is it called Gospel? The word is derived from 'God' and 'spel', an old English word for story. The word first appeared in print in 1874 with the publication of ‘Gospel Songs’ by Philip Bliss.

While this dichotomy existed for some there were many back in the first half of the twentieth century, who knew absolutely where they sat, they were very definitely in the Lord’s house. Everything and anything happening in the jukes, barrelhouses, vaudeville theatres or tents, in fact anywhere the Blues were heard was the Devil’s work, pure and simple.

“I'll tell you that, I never sung the blues because we sing by inspiration. God is who we serve, he makes us feel. We don't need no drugs, we don't need no nothing to hype us up, we just sing, by the spirit of God.”

Clarence Fountain
The Five Blind Boys of Alabama
in 1999 during the filming of Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey

If you've never heard the 5 Blind Boys check them out - brilliant. Some others to look into, The Sounds of Blackness, The Four Internes, Take Six, Clara Ward Singers, Violinaires and the Soul Stirers. I also love Elvis Presley singing gospel- some of his most beautiful songs.


Colin Campbell said...

In my CD collecting days I picked up a box set of Mahalia Jackson. I play it regularly. We have just had the Australian version of Battle of the Choirs. Most of those choirs were more traditional and a very traditional one won. They were technically very good and were able to adjust from a very conservative repertoire to some more robust and interesting stuff.

r morris said...

On the new 'Shine a Light' DVD of the Bigger Bang Tour, Buddy Guy steals the whole show. He makes Jack White and Christina Aguilera look like rejects from American Idol.
If you haven't seen it, check it out.

r morris said...

By the way, Colin, who does your hair? It looks great! :)