Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gospel Reinvention

The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio - Moving Up

The Bethlehem Gospel Singers - Let's Talk About Jesus

Gospel music often is a genre made up of interchangable parts. Many gospel songs used similar chord changes, many of them used a plethora of throwaway gospel phrases ("I stepped into the water / the water was cold / it chilled my body / but not my soul," for instance) and wholesale use of lyrics from "Amazing Grace" and "I Love the Lord He Heard My Cry," to name two songs, was very common. (I've always been of the impression that if a gospel singer is improvising and runs out of stuff, they can always go to "Amazing Grace"!) It was also inevitable that gospel artists would also rework other gospel songs to fit their purposes.

The Gospelaires of Dayton, Ohio appear on the "TV Gospel Time" tapes I have, and their performances on the show are electrifying examples of '60s gospel at its hard-singing best. "Moving Up" was one of their great Peacock singles. After dispensing with the opening chorus and sole verse, the rest of the tune features great ad-libs by the lead singer and fine riffing by the group. The Bethlehem Gospel Singers, whose HSE recordings have appeared on this blog before, took the melody and structure of "Moving Up" and crafted "Let's Talk About Jesus" (not to be mistaken for the Bells of Joy classic) for the My Bible Is Right LP. The group puts a nice tambourine-laden groove on the song and lead singer (and "songwriter") James MacLean does a great job with his ad-libs, which go a lot further than those on "Moving Up."


Mysterious said...

I like your blog!

Anonymous said...

what is the name of that song...stepped in the water the water was cold chilled my body but not my soul...ive been trying to figure it out forever...please help me if you can

The Stepfather of Soul said...

Well, my friend, I hate to tell you, but there are probably a billion gospel songs that have incorporated those lyrics in some form or another. The first one that comes to mind, though, and hopefully the one you have in mind, is "I Know I've Got Religion" by the Staple Singers.

Shanavia said...

The song is called I Know I've Been Changed by Lashun Pace

PearlCross said...

the song im trying to figure out with those lyrics also has the lyrics "you should have been there when i prayed through, church was on fire and the Holy Ghost too" so if anyone knows those lyrics please tell me...its totally my fav song but i only get to hear it in church