Sunday, July 21, 2019
Claiborne Brothers Quartette at the World's Fair (Word W-3191; 1962)
What about that cool cover? So Sixties. Sorry about the slight glitch in the stitch (hey, that rhymes!)--because LP covers are larger than my scanner face, I scan in four sections, then I use Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe to join them. Since there's a slight depression between the frame and the glass (no reason for it--just is), it's just about impossible to keep the jackets perfectly level when scanning. So we sometimes get stuff like this:
Oh, well. Still a pretty awesome gospel cover--probably an official painting of the fair--and some very good quartet singing on the vinyl disc within. When I Googled this LP, two 1962 newspaper (!) references came up, so I knew the year right away. Furthermore, this is (or was) the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, aka the Century 21 Exposition. Seven years in planning.
The five guys pictured on the back jacket include the four singers, two of whom--Gifford and Byron Claiborne--make up the "Brothers" portion of the quartette (not sure why they're using the old-fashioned spelling of "quartet"). Ken Martin is the lead, and George Melton is the first tenor, while Roger Kling is the accompanist and arranger. I was happy to find the link to a Claiborne Brothers Quartette website, but not so happy to click on it and find a pharmacy page selling Wellbutrin SR and other drugs. Anyway, some gospel mega-standards here: On the Jericho Road (the composer being Donald S. McCrossan, not "Crossan"), Until Then, The Old Rugged Cross, and Oh, How I Love Jesus. The Roger Kling originals, including The Sunshine of His Love, are all unfamiliar to me, but they fit in just fine stylistically, and the playlist is smooth as butter, just like the expert harmonizing. I'd have preferred a few more traditional numbers, but no one asked me. At least there's the one 19th century number--1855's O How I Love Jesus, which uses an anonymous melody from that century. I won't quibble over the O vs. Oh. Though it is O How I Love Jesus. Without a comma. But I won't quibble.
To Me He Is So Wonderful, which is mixed in, descant-style, with O How I love Jesus in the first medley, was composed in 1955 by Ralph H. Goodpasteur (1923-1996), under the title It's So Wonderful. I just now found the hymn in my 1975 Baptist Hymnal. It's a black gospel number, and here's a YouTube video from the First Church of Deliverance in Chicago, where Goodpasteur served as music director. You'll notice that the first line is actually, "To me, it's so wonderful." Who changed it, and why, I do not know.
Update: I can see why It's So Wonderful was merged in a medley with O How I Love Jesus--the former's verse is very close to O How....
Anyway, on to the Century 21 gospel....
DOWNLOAD: Claiborne Brothers Quartette at the World's Fair (Word S-3191; 1962)
I Believe in the Old Time Way (J.D. Sumner)
On the Jericho Road (Donald S. McCrossan)
Medley: Oh, How I Love Jesus (Anon.), To Me He Is So Wonderful (Ralph H. Goodpasteur)
Peace Like a River (William Burton Walbert)
In the Still of the Night (Roger Kling)
Medley: My Soul Is Going Higher (Roger Kling), When the Saints Go Marching In (Trad.)
If the Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side (Henry Slaughter)
Heaven, My Home Sweet home (Roger Kling)
Until Then (Stuart Hamblen)
The Old Rugged Cross (George Bennard)
I'll Never Be Lonely (Audrey Mieir)
The Sunshine of His Love (Roger Kling)