Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Tuesday morning gospel:
Click here to hear: Tuesday a.m. gospel
Dreams of the Past--Frank Stamps and His All Star Quartet, 1932
His Charming Love--Vaughan Quartet, 1928
I Want to Go There, Don't You?--Same
Nearer My God to Thee (Sullivan)--Royal Military Band w. Arthur T. Braddon, 1912
Eternal Father, Strong to Save (Dykes)--Arthur T. Braddon, w. organ, 1912 (Credited to Royal Military Band)
Pictures from Life's Other Side--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926
Where We'll Never Grow Old--Same
Don't You Love Your Daddy Too?--Higgins Sisters, 1930
The Old Fashioned Cabin--Same
The Meeting in the Air--Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Lacy, 1925
Cool labels, no? Cool music, too. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
I'm reading right now that Frank Stamps and His All Star Quartet, who perform Dreams of the Past for us, was the original Stamps Quartet. They were the guys who recorded Give the World a Smile for Victor in 1927. Since I lack the patience to even try to follow vocal group history in any genre (the endless name and personnel changes drive me nuts), I never have this stuff in my head, ready to rattle off. Whatever you think you know about a given vocal quartet, be it jazz or R&B vocal or pop or gospel, you don't know. Believe me.
Dreams of the Past (1932) is an almost-gospel number, as I call such numbers. Typically, these are miss-my-mother/I-dream-of-my-old-home songs--not quite gospel, but kind of, sort of religious. (Hope this isn't too technical.) The flip is nice, too, but too worn to rescue.
The Vaughan Quartet? Well, there were a number of these that traveled around in the 1910s and 1920s promoting songs published by James D. Vaughan, whose cheaply printed but awesome songbooks go back to the early 1900s (mine start in the 1920s). That's all I know--I swear. This quartet is awesome, much closer to the bluegrass quartet singing of Carl Story than the Stamps, who had that artsy, note-perfect style found in outfits like the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet. Concert gospel, I call that. The Vaughan Q. was more, um, down home. Along with "authentic," "down home" may be the most subjective musical adjective in use, but I use it proudly, regardless.
Almost-gospel also describes Pictures from Life's Other Side (1926), a socially-conscious number from the late 1800s which, like, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Angel Band, became every gospel arranger and singer's original. ("Everyone and his brother stole it" sounds a little bit harsh.) Along with the flip--Where We'll Never Grow Old (another widely borrowed number)--it was a sacred smash for the Columbia label. I ripped the best of my three copies, and I think it sounds fabulous.
Almost-gospel, again, with Don't You Love Your Daddy Too? which I fully expected to be a vaudeville type of number with circle-of-fifths harmony a la Alabama Jubilee. Nope--pure gospel, beautifully sung a cappella by the Higgins Sisters quartet, best described as a reverent, far less jazzy Brox Sisters, if the latter were a foursome. I'm not sure what I just typed.
Here is an image of Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Lacy, swiped from here. Once, I had some info about them, but I'm too worn out (third week of a flu/cold bug) to re-find it. Here they are:
We'll be hearing them from 1925 (the ultra-fundie classic, Meeting in the Air)--luckily, my 78 dating guide includes catalog no.'s for private recordings on Columbia, which is what this is. I think I put this up before, and I recall someone describing the Lacy's style in less than glowing terms. But it works for me.
Oh, and Arthur T. Braddon, from 1912: nothing about him on line, but what a gorgeous voice. He appears on both sides of this Coliseum 78 (Nearer My God; Eternal Father), but only gets label credit for the first. This Nearer My God is the less familiar Arthur Sullivan (of "Gilbert and..." fame) tune, while Eternal Father is the timeless and magnificent John B. Dykes tune we all know and love (or should). I was in the Navy, so every listen to Eternal Father is an emotional one for me--and this version, despite the cut-rate label and production, is an absolute gem.