If you listened to my radio show you almost definitely heard me play soul and you probably heard me play some soul gospel. There’s so compelling about some of it–fervor mixed with hard soul. I’ve pulled out some my favorites to share here.
Soul Gospel 8:
- Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light (mp3) (buy)
This one is so simple: guitar, steady rim hits and voice, but it also succeeds by making all those work together so well. Her voice has so much depth to it.
The Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do (mp3) (buy)
Who doesn’t love a real rouser? This is an soul song that’s been done by everyone from Diana Ross to Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but there’s something about the energy in this one.
Sam Cooke – Were You There (mp3) (buy)
I had to include a song that brought soul from the church context to the secular. “Touch the Hem of His Garment” is amazing, but this version of the traditional song can’t be missed. Sam’s voice is top notch here but so are the backup vocals.
Trevor Dandy – Is There Any Love (mp3) (buy)
I think repetitive songs are just fine if what is repeating is completely awesome. I love the beat and the vocals and apparently so does Kid Cudi.
Aretha Franklin – People Get Ready (mp3) (buy)
There are so many good versions of People Get Ready. I love the original by Curtis Mayfield/ the Impressions and the live version by the Chamber Brothers is great too, but between the sweet production and Aretha’s unsurpassed voice on this one, I had to pick it.
Rev. Columbus Mann – They Shall Be Mine (mp3) (buy)
Motown (often on their sub-labels) actually put out some gospel, including the Wright Specials track above and this one. This one is very straightforward, but it’s just a really good example of this style.
Gospel Supremes – Sinner Man (mp3) (buy)
From the first notes of this song, I feel like it’s running away and all I can do is hold on. There’s something untamed and uncontrolled about it.
Universal Jubileers – Childhood Days (mp3) (buy)
This is a great soul funk song with some sweet pop sensibilities that happens to be about Jesus. The music definitely reminds me of another song, but the vocals are all original.
Bonus: pre-soul gems:
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Didn’t It Rain (mp3) (buy)
I feel like no discussion of soul gospel would be complete without bringing up Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who mixes blues, driving guitar and distinctive vocals with gospel songs.
Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – Judgement (mp3) (buy)
This is a pretty old gospel recording but you can definitely hear some stylistic elements that carry over into the soul gospel tunes above.
If you want to hear more and better selections of music like this, hope Deep Fried and Sanctified comes back on the air at KZSU.