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African American Sacred Music

Musical Kaleidoscope Shows

Deep Mississippi Gospel

The gospel quartets and groups of Mississippi represent some of the finest African American gospel music on the planet, yet they have been mostly unknown in other parts of the world. The show begins in Canton, Mississippi 1978 with the James Missionary Baptist Church of Canton singing “Wade in the Water”, a traditional African American spiritual, followed by a performance from the same year by the Heavenly Gospel Singers of Canton singing a variation of the river-baptismal spiritual “Stepped in the Water One Day”. We move to the 1990s to hear from the Canton Spirituals, a gospel group originally founded in Canton in 1943. Harvey Watkins Sr., the group’s founder, leads with “Ride This Train” and this is followed by his son, Harvey Jr., singing “I’m in Your Care”. Next, we move on to Byhalia, Mississippi where Rev. Andrew Cheairs and the Gospel Songbirds of Byhalia sing two gospel songs “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” and “A Prayer for Times Like These”. Moving on to Tupelo, Mississippi, The Golden Wings Quartet perform “Leave it Here”. Finally, the late, great Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs, also from Tupelo, Mississippi, perform “God’s Got a Blessing”, “Tell the Angels”, and “On My Way”. (1 hour)

"Big Gospel Festival"

This is a very rare video from a VHS video tape of an African American gospel concert in an unknown location (most likely the East Coast/North Carolina) featuring Rev. F.C. Barns, the Angelic Gospel Singers, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Willie Banks, Troy Ramey, the Pilgrim Jubilees, Luther Barnes, Tommy Ellison, the Canton Spirituals, Willie Neal Johnson, Dottie Peoples among others. This video was probably filmed in the early 1990s. (2 hours)

"The Greatest Gospel Singing" Concert

A very rare video recording of a typical outdoor gospel concert in North Carolina featuring some great gospel acts filmed on August 19, 1984. On the bill are The Travelaires and the Melodyaires of Baltimore; the Harmonizing Four and the Burden Lifters of Richmond, Virginia; the Angelic Gospel Singers and the Sensational Nightingales of Philadelphia; The Pilgrim Wonders of Toledo, Ohio; the Sunset Jubilaires and Rev. F.C. and Janice Brown of Rocky Mount, North Carolina; the Evereadys and the Violinaires of Detroit; and Slim and The Supreme Angles of Milwaukee. (5 hours, 40 minutes)