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Jerry Zolten: Great God a'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds – Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music

Gene Santoro, The New York Times Book Review, 16 February 2003

THE ''GOSPEL HIGHWAY,'' the church-based circuit toured by black preachers and religious entertainers, was paved largely by segregation, but it also meant to bypass the world's sinful mores. Observers may discuss the genetic relationships and stylistic affinities of gospel and blues, but for true believers, one is holy and the other satanic – period. That explains why Ray Charles was so reviled by the faithful in 1955 when he rocked an old spiritual in what was then the new soul-gospel style, added leering lyrics, called it 'I Got a Woman' and scored a hit: he had blasphemed, as surely as if he had had sex in Sunday school.

Total word count of piece: 1336


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