The other day I started looking at old gospel performances on youtube, mostly because of ArchieB9876’s great vintage gospel videos. I decided that I’d have to hand pick 10 and share them. There’s some really great music and performances in here. Classic gospel is linked to modern rock n roll through “soul” and “R&B”. A lot of the white rockers and country stars grew up singing gospel tunes from the country side of things.
1. Soul Stirrers – Listen To The Angels Sing
The Soul Stirrers were the group Sam Cooke came out of (they kept going, this is after he left), but you can hear a lot of that same sound. This is a great mid-tempo number with a lot of soul.
2. Inez Andrews And The Andrewettes – There Must Be A God Somewhere
This is a medium slow song in 6/8 with an odd swing and with great vocals. Also, the complex-rhythmed clapping near the end is a nice touch.
3. Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – Something Got A Hold On Me
The sound quality of this is fairly distorted, but, man, this group just tears into this song. I love the raw guitar tone (even if the distortion is due to an old tape or bad encoding). I can’t believe the other people in the video are just sort of standing there.
4. James Cleveland – Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus
Rev. James Cleveland is a forbearer of modern mass gospel choirs. This is a clip from maybe the 70s in that style (choir call-and-response with a leader out front). It should also be noted that the scene in Blues Brothers where James Brown is singing gospel is with Cleveland and his choir.
5. Emmylou Harris & Johnny Cash – Where the Soul of Man Never Dies (+ a quick rendition of “Harvest Moon”)
Oh man, those are two very classic and awesome voices and they go together very well.
6. Drinkard Singers – Lift Him Up
Starts simmering and then–bam–it’s full-on. I love the quality the lead singer gets on her voice.
the rest after the jump
7. Gospel Redeemers – Thomas
Innocent white robes and a seriously raw guitar tone. The vocals are practiced but have a lot of soul.
8. Dolly Parton – How Great Though Art
A classic gospel song with Dolly’s wonderful voice and a nice arrangement.
(for a bit more 80s flash to your Dolly, check out this video with Dolly and Patti Labelle)
9. Fairfield Four – Dig a Little Deeper
The intro is just stupid. The Fairfield Four are totally classic, a very old group. They’ve got a very distinctive bass-heavy, wide-vibrato style. This song is pretty great.
10. Elvis Presley – Peace in the Valley
The ladies are going absolutely nuts for him and he steps back and does this subdued (and really lovely) gospel tune. Nice vocal blend and harmonies.
11. Rev Cleophus Robinson & Loving Sisters-Won’t We Have A Time
I love the way the lead gets into this, both with his voice and his body.
Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi – Leaning On The Everlasting
Great voices and I love the stilted feel of the song.
Elvis Presley – O Happy Day
Great version, just really short.
Johnny Cash – Were you There
Animated with Legos! so strange!