May 17, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 226 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

 Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, May 10th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

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Were the Soul Stirrers the greatest gospel quartet of all? We try to avoid superlatives on this program but many commentators treat the Soul Stirrers as though they were just that–the greatest gospel quartet of all. Certainly, the Stirrers, as much as any group, ushered in the era of modern hard gospel quartet, the style that dominated gospel’s “golden era” and R.H. Harris is hailed as the prototypical modern gospel lead and the innovator who introduced the practice of dual or multiple leads in quartet performance. What can’t be discounted is the estimation in which they were held in the gospel community but there seems to be some contrast in how the two great lead singers, R.H. Harris and Sam Cooke have been evaluated by their peers.

There has been much fascination with Sam Cooke’s place in popular music history because he successfully made the leap from gospel to pop and R&B and too briefly occupied a space at the apex of pop stardom. His pop stardom and importance as an R&B singer and producer at the moment that soul music was emergent only magnifies the importance of his role as lead singer of the Soul Stirrers and gospel innovator.

No one disputes that Sam Cooke fronting the Soul Stirrers changed the composition of the audience for the gospel programs but it’s also true that Stirrers were not the best-selling recording gospel quartet  of the era, or even the best selling quartet on their own label, Specialty.

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On the Show:

Julian Dash & His Orchestra – Famous Blue Jay Singers – Soul Stirrers – Pilgrim Travelers – Five Blind Boys of Alabama – Highway QCs –  and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or download until June 7th.

Contact Us:

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (May 17th)



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