Eastern Classical Eastern Classical American Traditional

The African-American Gospel Music "Encyclopedia"

- Early Recordings
- Wings Over Jordan
Jubilee Quartets
- Jubilee Quartets 1
- Jubilee Quartets 2
- Jubilee Quartets 3
- Jubilee Quartet Music
Chicago Gospel
- Chicago Gospel
- Roberta Martin Singers
- The Caravans
- Gospel Music Encyclopedia
- Regional Gospel Artists
- Female Gospel Artists
- Female Gospel Groups
- Six Gospel Gems
Artist Song Links
Doris Akers Sweet Holy Spirit
Doris Akers Highway to Heaven
Doris Akers I Believe
Doris Akers Everytime I Feel the Spirit
Margaret Allison Touch Me Lord Jesus
Margaret Allison I'm Bound For Mount Zion
Margaret Allison Collaboration
Margaret Allison Walk This Lonesome Valley
Margaret Allison If You Can't Help Me
Inez Andrews There Must Be A God Somewhere
Inez Andrews What Love
Inez Andrews We are Soldiers
Inez Andrews Mary Don't You Weep
Robert_Anderson He Knows How Much We Can Bear
Robert_Anderson Prayer Changes Things
Robert_Anderson It's In My Heart
Robert_Anderson Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Robert_Anderson I've Got Jesus
Willie Banks Lord You Been Good
Rev. F.C. Barnes & Rev. Janice Brown The Rough Side Of The Mountain
Barrett Sisters Walk And Talk With Jesus
Barrett Sisters New Home
Barrett Sisters I'm Going to Fly Away
Barrett Sisters Pass Me Not My Gentle Saviour
Barrett Sisters Precious Lord
Barrett Sisters Nobody Knows
Paul Beasley There Is Not A Friend
Paul Beasley Walk Around Heaven
Blind_Boys_of_Alabama To Close
Blind_Boys_of_Alabama Something Got A Hold of Me
Blind_Boys_of_Alabama Bless Me Jesus
Blind Boys of Mississippi Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Blind Boys of Mississippi Lord You've Been Good To Me
Blind Boys of Mississippi Come On up to Bright Glory
Alex Bradford It's a Highway to Heaven
Alex Bradford Take Me to the Water
Alex Bradford Glory Hallelujah
Queen C. Anderson & the Brewsteraires Jesus, the Perfect Answer
Brooklyn Allstars To Close
Brooklyn Allstars No Cross No Crown
Chosen Gospel Singers Why Do Men Turn Their Backs on God
Shirley_Caesar Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name
Shirley_Caesar I Feel LIke Praising Him
Canton Spirituals Mississippi Poor Boy
Canton Spirituals I'm In Your Care
Canton Spirituals I'm Coming Lord
Canton Spirituals Ride This Train
Canton Spirituals Heavenly Choir
Canton Spirituals Father I'm Coming Home
Canton Spirituals Give It All to You
The_Caravans Intro
The_Caravans Lord Keep Me Day by Day
The_Caravans Reunion concert excerpt
The_Caravans Sweeping Through the City
The_Caravans Mary Don't You Weep
The_Caravans Lord Keep Me Day By Day
James_Cleveland Where is Your Faith?
James_Cleveland Peace Be Still
James_Cleveland Precious Lord
Dorothy_Love_Coates I'm Just Holding On
Dorothy_Love_Coates The Winner
Dorothy_Love_Coates Stop and Take a Little Time to Pray
The Consolers Grace of God
The Consolers Three Songs
The Consolers I Got to Go Away and Leave You
Edna_Gallmon_Cooke Pray Sometimes
Andre Crouch Through it All
Andre Crouch The Blood Will Never Lose its Power
Davis Sisters On the Right Road
Davis Sisters I Believe I'll Go Back Home
Davis Sisters We Need the Power Lord
Dixie Hummingbirds I've Got So Much to Talk About
Thomas A. Dorsey Dovesong Precious Lord
Tommy Ellison Closer
Clay Evans I'm Going Through
Clay Evans Hallelujah Anyhow
Aretha Franklin Precious Lord
Cassietta George Homecoming Service: Albertina Walker
Gospelaires of Dayton "Joy" and "Rest for the Weary"
Bessie Griffin Lord, Look Down on Me
Bessie Griffin Nobody Knows
Bessie Griffin Come on Children
Highway QC's All Men are Make by God
Highway QC's Do You Love Him?
Highway QC's I Heard
Highway QC's Work a miracle
Mahalia Jackson How I Got Over
Mahalia Jackson I Couldn't Keep It To Myself
Mahalia Jackson Steel Away (with Nat King Cole)
Mahalia Jackson God Will Take Care of You
Mahalia Jackson Lord Don't Move The Mountain
Mahalia Jackson Highway to Heaven
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes Clean Heart
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes This Heart of Mine
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes Feel Alright
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes Medley
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes Show Me the Way
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes On My Way to Heaven
Willie Neal Johnson & The Gospel Keynotes Just For Me
Harmonizing Four I'm Going Through
Harmonizing Four That's Alright
Harmonizing Four The Old Rugged Cross
Harmonizing Four Only Believe
Harmonizing Four I Trust in Good
Marie Knight Let Us Get Together
Marie Knight You'd Better Run
Marie Knight Everytime I Feel the Spirit
Loving Sisters of Roxboro, NC God is able
Loving Sisters of Roxboro, NC Give it Up
Roberta Martin Singers Only a Look
Sally Martin Singers Dovesong Seeking For Me
Brother Joe May Old Ship of Zion
Brother Joe May Wake Me, Shake Me
Meditation Singers Sanctified
Mighty Clouds of Joy Walk Around Heaven
Mighty Clouds of Joy If Jesus Can't Fix It
Mighty Clouds of Joy I Made a Step
Mighty Clouds of Joy Steal Away to Jesus
Mighty Clouds of Joy When They Ring Them Golden Bells
Mighty Clouds of Joy Just Look
Charles Nicks How I Got Over
Charles Nicks Jesus Can Do It For You/Completely Yes
Charles Nicks O Give Thanks
Charles Nicks He's So Real
Charles Nicks I'm Free
Charles Nicks I'll Get Home Someday
Dorothy Norwood Near the Cross
The O'Neal Twins Jesus Dropped the Charged
The O'Neal Twins I'd Trade a Lifetime
The Pattersonaires The Old Landmark
Pilgrim Jubilee Singers Old Ship of Zion
Pilgrim Jubilee Singers Wonderful
Pilgrim Jubilee Singers Don't Let Him Down
Pilgrim Jubilee Singers The Time is Now
Willis Pittman & The Burden Lifters So Glad I'm Here
Troy Ramey & the Soul Searchers By God's Power
Troy Ramey & the Soul Searchers By the Power of God
Raymond Rasberry Singers No Tears in Heaven
Raymond Rasberry Singers Deliverance Will Come
Sister Jessie Mae Renfro Near The Cross
Rev. Utah Smith Two Wings
Rev. Cleophus Robinson Save A Seat For Me
Rev. Cleophus Robinson If the Lord be with Me
Rev. Cleophus Robinson Going Over Yonder
Salem Travelers Heaven is My Goal
The Sensational_Nightingales Morning Train
The Sensational_Nightingales Somewhere to Lay My Head
The Sensational_Nightingales Standing on the Promises
The Sensational_Nightingales His Grace is Sufficient
Slim & the Supreme Angels Somebody Touched Me
Slim & the Supreme Angels Don't Leave Me Lord
Slim & the Supreme Angels If I'm Too High
Slim & the Supreme Angels Under the Blood
Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith Remember Me
Soul Stirrers Lord, Remember Me
Soul Stirrers Touch the Hem of his Garment
Soul Stirrers I'm a Soldier
Staple Singers We'll Get Over
Staple Singers I'll Take You There
Stars of Faith (Marian Williams) I Believe
Stars of Faith (Marian Williams) Mean Old World
Stars of Faith (Marian Williams) Playlist
Stars of Faith (Marian Williams) My Lord and I
Swanee Quintet Send it Down
Swanee Quintet Washed in the Blood
Swanee Quintet Wings of a Prayer
Swanee Quintet Meeting Tonight
Swanee Quintet Dr. Jesus
Spiritual QCs If I Couldn't Say One Word
Spiritual QCs He Laid His Hands on Me
Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe Up Above My Head
Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe Didn't it Rain
Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe Trouble in Mind
Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe The Lonesome Road
Sister_Rosetta_Tharpe That's All
Traveling Echoes Two Brothers
Traveling Echoes Nobody But You Lord
The Fantastic Violinaires Dr. Jesus
The Fantastic Violinaires Mother Used to Hold Me
The Fantastic Violinaires I Don't Know
The Fantastic Violinaires I Can't Refuse
The Fantastic Violinaires Are You Ready?
Albertina Walker I Can Go to God in Prayer
Albertina Walker Lord, Remember Me
Rosie Wallace God Cares
Rosie Wallace He's There
Clara Ward The Old Landmark
Clara Ward Didn't it Rain?
Clara Ward Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Clara Ward We'll Soon Be Done
Clara Ward Medley
Sister Ernestine Washington There's Not a Friend
Ethel Waters His Eye is on the Sparrow
Bishop Charles Watkins Renew
Williams Sisters Jesus Will Pick You Up
Maceo Woods Step to Jesus
Zion Travellers Unknown

Black Gospel Music: A Tradition of Excellence

by Don Robertson

Originally published in 2002 on DoveSong.com

One of the sources of black gospel music was the black "jubilee" groups that were formed in colleges primarily located in the Southeast United States. These groups employed quartet singing with four-part harmony. One of the earliest and certainly the most successful of these groups was the Fisk University Jubilee singers, a male quartet that sang
Negro spirituals. The jubilee style of singing continued, while evolving, well into the 1940s.

Another early source of Negro gospel music, was the work that was accomplished by Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933), a Philadelphia preacher who composed nearly 50 hymns, including such standards as Stand By Me, Nothing Between, Leave it There, and the important We'll Understand it Better By and By, composed in 1905.

Meanwhile, another tradition of church singing and composition sprang forth from the birth of Pentecostalism that occurred in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles a year later. This important outpouring of divine spirit spawned a new music, called sanctified singing, and was pioneered by such people as Arizona Dranes, Rosetta Tharpe, Lucie Campbell, W. Herbert Brewster and Kenneth Morris, then reached a zenith in the 1930s when Thomas A. Dorsey in conjunction with such singers as Roberta Martin, Mahalia Jackson, Robert Anderson and Sally Martin, gave birth to a new style of gospel music that was developed in Chicago and in other Midwestern and Eastern cities.

In 1921, The National Baptist Convention published Gospel Pearls, the first book of songs published by a black congregation that used the name "gospel" in relation to the newly evolving style of Negro sacred music that would later be known as Gospel Music. The book included songs by Charles Albert Tindley, Lucie Campbell, and Thomas A. Dorsey.

In the 1940s, the jubilee quartets evolved into the harder singing style of such groups as the Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Spirit of Memphis, the Soul Stirrers, and the Sensational Nightingales.

During the 1970s, black gospel music moved primarily into another direction. Pioneered by the great gospel singer James Cleveland and based on his work with Thomas A. Dorsey, this movement was called the Mass Choir Movement. This movement produced some great in addition to some mediocre music into the 1980s, as black gospel music began to more and more mimic the soul music of the secular world. Clearly the great Golden Era of Black Gospel Music was over. Except for the few older groups that continued the older styles, what was originally black gospel music had been all but obliterated by the 1990s, and now what you will find in the record stores, and called "gospel music," has little or no resemblance to the original, just as contemporary country music has little or no resemblance to the country music of the 1950s and 1960s, and contemporary jazz has little or no resemblance to the jazz of bygone years. Styles of music peak, then dissolve, that is why it is important that we capture the music at its peak, then relish it for years to come...something we can now only do because of technology

In this list, I focus on the great black gospel music up through the 1960s in addition to the artists that have maintained the traditions of uplifting music such as Andre Crouch and Edwin Hawkins in their earlier years, Slim and the Supreme Angels, the Williams Sisters and the Canton Spirituals.