The Vinyl Frontier #4 - Collecting Black Gospel Music

Posted by Joe Goldmark, March 10, 2015 07:02pm | Post a Comment

Head to the Vinyl Beat website to check out extensive LP label guides and wild cover galleries!

A friend said that gospel music was soul music for black folk and that mainstream soul music was music made for a white audience. The implication being that if you wanted to hear music with real soul, listen to gospel.

The Fantastic Violinaires with an incredible live version of “Children Are You Ready.”

Generally speaking, gospel reflected whatever musical trend was happening in R&B music. Gospel music was a little rougher and less polished than secular music, and of course the theme was religious, but otherwise it was relatively easy for artists to cross back and forth between the two styles. And besides, most black pop and soul artists grew up singing in the church.

Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes, "Thats Enough."


The Staple Singers, Mavis Staples The Staple Singers with Mavis Staples on lead vocal, “Sit Down Servant.”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “Can’t No Grave Hold My Body Down.”


It’s not easy being a gospel record collector on the West Coast. Most of the congregations that bought these records and the record labels themselves were on the East Coast, the South, or in the industrial Midwest cities. The bad news is that out here we don’t see these records very often. The good news is that very few people collect gospel so when a load shows up somewhere it might stick around for a while and you have a shot at getting some of it.

A sampling of tunes from recommended albums are interspersed.

The Soul Stirrers, Sam Cooke The Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke, “Touch The Hem Of His Garment.”

The Davis Sisters, “Sinner Man.”


Relevant Tags

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (3), Mavis Staples (2), The Staple Singers (1), Dorothy Love Coates (1), The Fantastic Violinaires (1), Soul (43), Gospel (12), The Soul Stirrers (1), Sam Cooke (9), The Davis Sisters (1)