Gospel Music Archive

Community Singings and Square Dances: Muzzled Oxen Part 3

If you’ve been reading this column lately you’re familiar with our regular features on the recently published book, Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas. Published by Butler Center Books, a branch of the Central Arkansas Library system, this three hundred fifty page memoir documents the stories of Genevieve Grant Sadler, a
Category: African American History

Flooding Rivers and Everyday Music: The Stories and Songs of Floy Bearden

This piece was originally published in the October 2013 issue of ABOUT the River Valley magazine and was written by Boiled Down Juice editor Meredith Martin-Moats.   Photos of grandchildren and great grandchildren line the walls of Floy Bearden’s home in Dardanelle. A bag of crochet peaks out from under the piano, the platform above the keys lined
Category: Arkansas

Singing Schools and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music

Last week’s column highlighted just a few of the entries from the recently released Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music. Published by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the book draws from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture’s online collection of entries about the past and present of Arkansas music. As editor Ali Wekly writes in
Category: Arkansas

Monday Music: “Joshua Fit the Battle,” Clara Ward Singers featuring Geraldine Jones

  Today’s Monday Music is a 1962 performance of the The Clara Ward Singers in Antibes, France during the Antibes Jazz Festival. Geraldine Jones is singing the lead with Mildred Means singing soprano. Started by Clara Ward’s mother, Gertrude Ward, the Ward Singers began in 1931 as a family group. Later the youngest daughter, Clara,
Category: African American

Monday Music: “John Henry” played by Lesley Riddle

Week before last we posted about the book The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song,  a graphic novel tracing the history of the Carter family and their influence on American music.  One of the key figures in the lives of the Carter and represented in the book is guitar player Lesley Riddle, an African American folk musician
Category: African American

Friday Video: Sister Rosetta Tharpe on PBS American Masters

Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Rosetta Nubin Tharpe) is considered the Godmother of rock and soul, influencing musicians like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and countless others. She merged the sacred and the secular both lyrically and stylistically, creating a new style of playing that was full of passion. Quoting from
Category: African American

Monday Music: Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens “What Have You Done, My Brother?”

Today’s Monday Music comes from the amazing Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens. Growing up singing in churches in Alabama, Shelton went on to sing in many soul clubs in New York before forming the current group with piano player and creative director Cliff Davis. The 2009 release What Have You Done, My Brother? on Daptone
Category: African American

Friday Video: “We Got to Have More Love, More Understanding…” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, France, 1960

If you’re not familiar with Arkansas’s own Sister Rosetta Tharpe, here’s a bit of background on this amazing woman from Cotton Plant who bridged the worlds of sacred and secular music.  From the Arkansas Encylcopedia: Rosetta Nubin was born in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) on March 20, 1915, to Katie Bell Nubin, an evangelist, singer, and mandolin
Category: African American

For All My Fellow Arkansansans: Sister Rosetta singing “Didn’t It Rain.”

In honor of all the rain and storms, here’s a video from Arkansas’s own Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing one of her most well-known songs, “Didn’t it Rain.” Click here to watch the video on youtube. Thankful for all those who are safe and thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by
Category: Gospel Music