Album Review of
Jesus Rocked the Jukebox - Small Group Black Gospel (1951-1965)
Various Artists

Written by Mark Gallo
September 27, 2017 - 12:00am EDT
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This is a vital look at some heralded and obscure gospel groups at the time of the birth of rock and roll. And what a time it was! Here are the original Five Blind Boys of Alabama in 1965 before they crossed over, The Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke before he crossed over and the Chosen Gospel Singers with Lou Rawls. This is about the roots. The music can be traced directly back to the mother continent Africa and to the shoutful strains of the African American preachers. Mostly, it comes from the heart. But, to influences. The Harmonizing Four’s “Happy Home”, from 1959 shares a falsetto lead with the Platters’ 1956 version of “My Prayer.” The Sam Cooke lead with the Soul Stirrers on “Jesus Gave Me Water” predates Cooke’s enormous popularity in secular music, but that amazing voice was already growing. It is as breathtakingly beautiful on “Just Another Day.” The multi-Grammy winning Five Blind Boys of Alabama, who recently released a new album, one of dozens. Originally formed in the late 1930s, they’re represented here with the lead-off cut, “People Don’t Sing Like They Used To,” from 1965 and “He’s Alright,” from the same years as well as their1956 cut on “Swingin’ On The Golden Gates,” under The Happlyland Singers. The Staple Singers have three songs, the fantastic Swan Silvertones have a whopping six and the program is rounded out by The Patterson Singers, The Highways QCs, The Detroiters, The Gable-Airs, and the Silver Quintet. The best gospel collection this writer has heard in ages. The very insightful and informative liner notes from Robert M. Marovich ties much of this together. Two CDs of heavenly joy!