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Gospel

Billy Preston: Billy's a Natural

Profile by Richard Green, New Musical Express, July 1969

IF EVER there was a "natural" for the charts, Billy Preston's 'That's The Way God Planned It' — which enters this week at No. 19 ...

Gospel: Soul Sources

Overview by Charlie Gillett, Record Mirror, August 1969

ON STAGE at the Apollo, Harlem: standing at one microphone, an immaculately dressed man dramatically insists his love. At the second mike, four men bend ...

The Edwin Hawkins Singers: Edwin Hawkins

Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, November 1970

EVERY NOW and then, a true phenomenon occurs in the world of popular music. The 60's was a period when at least one unusual occurrence ...

The Edwin Hawkins Singers/Blue Mink: Royal Albert Hall, London

Live Review by David Nathan, Blues & Soul, December 1970

IN PRACTICALLY every biography written about today's soul singers, mention is made of how he or she began singing in church; so much so that ...

George Perkins

Profile and Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, June 1972

THREE YEARS ago, George Perkins' debut single, 'Crying In The Streets', gave him a No. 1 R&B record. Now comes the belated follow-up and a ...

Aretha Franklin (with James Cleveland and the South California Community Choir): Amazing Grace (Atlantic)

Review by Ian MacDonald, New Musical Express, August 1972

Aretha at her greatest ...

Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace (Atlantic)

Review by Roger St. Pierre, New Musical Express, August 1972

THOUGH IT HAS received wide critical accalim Aretha Franklin's latest album, the double set Amazing Grace, is far and away the least commercially orientated she ...

Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace (Atlantic)

Review by David Nathan, Blues & Soul, September 1972

WHEN I WAS first privileged to hear some of Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace album when John Abbey brought back from the States several cassettes'-worth of ...

Various Artists: The Gospel Sound

Review by Tony Russell, Cream, November 1972

YOU READ it here, you read it there: gospel is close to the heart of blues and rock. But where do you hear what that ...

Aretha Franklin, Rev. James Cleveland: Rev James Cleveland

Profile and Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, December 1972

IT'S REALLY quite a sad commentary on life that it took a pupil to bring the master to the attention of the world but that's ...

Billy Preston's Gospel Truths

Interview by David Rensin, Rolling Stone, February 1975

LOS ANGELES – "I've never asked anyone to help me or give me a break," declared Billy Preston adamantly. "Whatever I don't have now I ...

The Mighty Clouds of Joy: Hey You, Get Onto The Mighty Clouds Of Joy…

Comment by Bob Fisher, New Musical Express, March 1975

...and discover the undiluted gospel fervour and emotional commitment you thought black music had lost. ...

The Fatback Band, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Smokey Robinson, The Sylvers: Smokey Robinson/Mighty Clouds of Joy/Sylvers/Fatback Band: Los Angeles

Live Review by John Swenson, Sounds, March 1976

YOU WON'T find a better textbook example of what's gone wrong with R&B over the past few years. Ticket prices, scaled from $10.00 down, were ...

Thomas A Dorsey: The Father Of Gospel: Thomas A. Dorsey

Profile and Interview by Steve Turner, Melody Maker, May 1977

He likes his stories does Thomas A. Dorsey, and with a 77-year-old mind in charge of the telling, they do tend to crop up more ...

Cissy Houston In Her Own Right

Interview by David Nathan, Blues & Soul, January 1978

Cissy has sung behind countless superstars, from Elvis to Aretha, particularly during her stint as leader of the Sweet Inspirations. She's now out front again ...

Shirley Caesar: The First Lady of Gospel

Interview by David Nathan, Blues & Soul, January 1978

IT'S LONG been acknowledged that some of the very finest black performers around today have their roots squarely and firmly in the gospel field. Everyone ...

Timmy Thomas: The Gospel Freak

Profile and Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, November 1978

The 'Why Can't We Live Together' man now has a dual role – as head of TK's Gospel division and leader of the Freak dancefloor ...

Rance Allen

Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, February 1979

THE RELEASE of Straight From The Heart marks the return home of the Rance Allen Group. After a gap of four years – during which ...

The Dixie Hummingbirds: Flyin' High

Profile and Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, February 1979

THERE HAS been a whole lot of publicity about the fact that fifty years ago, Walt Disney was introducing Mickey Mouse to the world over ...

Bob Dylan: Slow Train Coming (CBS)

Review by Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express, August 1979

THE RELATIONSHIP between rock and religion has always been fraught and filled with tension: back at its Southern rural roots, there was always a serious ...

Al Green: Higher Plane (Hi/PRT)

Review by Andy Gill, New Musical Express, April 1982

OH, HAPPY man...You can tell Al Green is truly saved from a quick glance at the cover, from the way his Daz-white shirt blue-airbrushes its ...

The Clark Sisters: Is The Lord Bored With Disco?

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, New Musical Express, August 1983

GOD MUST be tired of pop music. The most popular female gospel act in America, Detroit's Clark Sisters, have the first gospel record in a ...

Viv Broughton: Black Gospel: An Illustrated History Of The Gospel Sound (Blandford Press)

Review by Barney Hoskyns, New Musical Express, 1984

IT’S ONLY TOO easy to take that vicarious pleasure in the religious antics of folk who are not of one's own race, nationality or (non-) ...

Al Green: The Gospel According To Al Green

Interview by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, January 1985

Al GREEN was the hottest soul singer this side of Stevie Wonder in the early '70s but don't expect to hear old hits like 'Tired ...

Al Green: Trust In God (Demon/Hi)****

Review by Chris Roberts, Sounds, February 1985

F*** GOD (Brando's first two words in Last Tango, actually), we're talking AL GREEN here. Quite simply, the best voice ever to co-exist with anything ...

The Soul Stirrers: Various Artists: Father And Sons (Spirit Feel)

Review by Barney Hoskyns, New Musical Express, 1986

IF YOU'VE any interest in gospel music at all, this should be an essential purchase. Compiled by Anthony Heilbut, author of seminal tome The ...

The Winans: The Divine Music Of Protest…

Profile and Interview by Simon Witter, New Musical Express, January 1986

SIMON WITTER has a new calling – to spread the word about THE WINANS, a hot Gospel sound that just won't let go. ...

The Swan Silvertones: Pet Sounds: Get Right With the Swan Silvertones (Archives Alive/Rhino)

Review by Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, August 1986

GOSPEL MUSIC GENERALLY gets much lip service as an influence on R&B (and indirectly rock) vocalists but short thrift when it comes to re-issues of ...

Jimmy Swaggart: The Best of Jimmy Swaggart (Jim Records)

Review by Glenn O'Brien, Spin, April 1987

A LOT OF fundamentalists today preach against the evils of rock 'n' roll, but TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart has gone and done something about the ...

Al Green: God Is Love

Interview by Jon Wilde, Blitz, September 1988

Al Green believes in the power of love. But most of all, he believes in the power of God. ...

Al Green: Another Green World

Interview by Nick Coleman, Time Out, June 1989

"Sometimes I wonder if you love me the way you say you do... Sometimes I just fold my arms and say... weeeee-eeeeh awooooah!" ...

Johnny Cash: The Gospel Collection

Sleevenotes by Colin Escott, Sony, July 1992

ONE NIGHT in August 1957, after an appearance on Town Hall Party in Compton, California, Johnny Cash went to the home of Lawrence and Hazel ...

Mavis Staples, Prince, The Steeles: Prince & The New Power Generation/Mavis Staples/The Steeles: Wembley Arena and Bagley's Warehouse, King's Cross Freight Depot, London

Live Review by Jeff Lorez, Blues & Soul, September 1993

THE MAN KNOWS no bounds. Having already performed a half hour show for the BBC that morning, Prince was intent on ending his European tour ...

Marion Williams: The Genius of Marion Williams: My Soul Looks Back

Sleevenotes by Anthony Heilbut, Spirit Feel/Shanachie, 1994

IN RETROSPECT, Marion Williams' last year assumes an almost mythic shape. She finally received the worldly honours and material goods long denied her: the rush ...

Candi Staton: Journey From Sensuality to Salvation

Discography by Bill Carpenter, Goldmine, March 1995

When you get that old yearningTo come around knocking on my doorYou know I'm gonna let you inBaby just as sure as sin, as sure ...

The Gospel according to Anthony Heilbut

Profile and Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Independent, The, June 1996

From Mahalia Jackson to Death in Venice might seem a long journey. But for Anthony Heilbut, the renowned gospel expert and author of a new ...

Mavis Staples, Pop Staples, The Staple Singers: The Staple Singers: God's Greatest Hitmakers

Retrospective and Interview by Bill Carpenter, Goldmine, August 1996

THERE'S NO question about it. Forget the Winans or the Hawkins Family, the Staple Singers are the most widely known, best-selling gospel group of all ...

Mavis Staples, Pop Staples: Pops Staples

Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Oxford American, July 1998

THE STAPLE Singers didn't get started until ten years after the family patriarch, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, moved the clan from Winona, Mississippi, to Chicago in ...

Aretha Franklin: The 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time: #1 Aretha Franklin

Retrospective and Interview by Ben Edmonds, MOJO, October 1998

 "She has all the Olympian leaps and trills, plus what's so often missing from others — believability." Eddi Reader "The essence of human spirit." Vic Chesnutt "I'm ...

Blind Boys of Alabama: The Backpages Interview: Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama

Interview by Jason Gross, Rock's Backpages, June 2001

A sixty-plus-year-old gospel group that covers Tom Waits and the Rolling Stones songs for Peter Gabriel’s label? Is it possible? When most groups struggle to ...

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet: The Third Rail of Rock & Roll : Paying Respect To The Greatest Of Gospel Groups

Retrospective by Tom Graves, Memphis Flyer, July 2004

Note: The following article of mine appeared in the July 2 special issue of the Memphis Flyer that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the birth ...

Aretha Franklin Getting Plenty Of Respect

Interview by Fred Shuster, Los Angeles Daily News, September 2004

Soul Survivor On Her First Tour In 21 Years ...

The Staple Singers: A Family Affair 1955 - 1984

Review by Terry Staunton, Record Collector, December 2004

The greatest gospel group of all time? Lordy, yes! ...

Elvis Presley: He Touched Me – The Gospel Music Of Elvis Presley

Review by Terry Staunton, Record Collector, October 2005

THE ONLY Grammys Presley won in his lifetime were for gospel records, and for a long spell in the '60s his songs of praise were ...

Outward Is Heavenward: Modern Gospel

Report by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, The, July 2006

THERE'S SO MUCH going on in gospel music today that you may have missed when Kirk Franklin paused from promoting Hero, his latest chart-topping CD, ...

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Profile by Jon Stewart, Guitarist, June 2008

SISTER ROSETTA Tharpe was born in a Mississippi delta cotton farm in 1915. ...

The Dixie Hummingbirds, Marion Williams, The Soul Stirrers: How Sweet It Was: The Sights and Sounds of Gospel's Golden Age

Sleevenotes by Anthony Heilbut, Shanachie Records, 2010

"You know, friends, they got this new music ... this rocking and roll. And I'd just like to say that it gets its beat... ...

Mahalia Jackson: A Centennial Celebration Of Mahalia Jackson

Comment by Paul Yamada, JazzGram, July 2011

THE CHICAGO JAZZ ENSEMBLE wound down its season paying tribute to Mahalia Jackson, who was born October 26, 1911 in New Orleans, and who came ...

Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Blue-Singing Gospel Girls: Aretha and her Forebears

Book Excerpt by Anthony Heilbut, 'The Fan Who Knew Too Much' (Knopf), June 2012

AMONG THE SEVERAL MYTHS Aretha's father Reverend C. L. Franklin incarnated was a familiar type, Reverend Eatemup, the man with pastoral appetites in food ...

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