Saw a piece of a Dorsey interview this past weekend on TV, part of a "Where
Gospel Came From" type series (6 episodes.)

Steve Smolian

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 10:33 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Gospel preservation

> Which reminds me...buried somewhere deep in the Disney archives is one of
> the last filmed interviews done with Thomas J. Dorsey (the father of
> gospel
> music), which we shot for a documentary called "Chicago on the Good Foot"
> back in the early eighties. In addition, the film also contained material
> with Willie Dixon (filmed in his studio), Junior Wells, Big Twist, Pinetop
> Perkins, Koko Taylor...the list goes on. Would love to get my hands back
> on
> that material again.
> I'm sure no one at Disney even knows it exists.
> Scott Smith
> Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matthew Barton" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 7:58 AM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Gospel preservation
>> From today's New York Times--a familiar tune.
>> Gospel's Got the Blues
>> Published: February 15, 2005
>> Waco, Tex.
>> AT the Grammy awards on Sunday, viewers saw the marriage of old-time
> gospel
>> and new: the classic artists Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama
>> performed a medley with a young musician, Kanye West, that included Mr.
>> West's gospel-tinged hip-hop song, "Jesus Walks."
>> Blessed with a rock-solid foundation, contemporary gospel is thriving. In
>> the past decade, new releases have been selling copies in the millions -
>> a
>> major milestone in a musical genre that emerged in the 1930's, when the
>> songwriter Thomas Dorsey set the words of Sunday morning to the music of
>> Saturday night. But the early gospel may soon be lost forever. Although
>> albums by the legendary Mahalia Jackson are easy to find on CD, of the
>> thousands of tracks recorded by less known greats like Clara Ward, the
>> Sensational Nightingales, the Roberta Martin Singers, Sallie Martin, the
>> Georgia Peach and the Spirit of Memphis, only a few are available.
>> Why is this music so difficult to find, or even hear, today? Although
> small
>> gospel labels still release classics, and reissue labels like Document
>> Records and Collectables have repackaged some Golden Age music, these
>> companies don't have the wide distribution of the major labels and mostly
>> depend on mail and Internet orders. In fact, catalogs of early gospel
>> labels are mostly owned by the large corporations that dominate the music
>> industry. For the most part, these companies have released only a few
>> classic albums on compact disc.
>> For an unabashed fan like me, it's a painful situation. I realize that no
>> corporation is going to put out albums just to please a few aficionados,
>> but they may not realize that many people want to hear this music. Each
>> time I do a radio interview and play a classic gospel song, the phone
> lines
>> immediately light up. The callers need to discuss what this music has
> meant
>> to them. They invariably ask where they can buy it and most of the time I
>> have to tell them they can't.
>> Classic gospel can experience the same success that major-label reissues
> of
>> jazz and blues have enjoyed in the last two decades. It was once
>> difficult
>> to find the jazz masters, but reissues of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker
> and
>> dozens of others have brought labels renewed sales, a new audience and
>> critical acclaim. These reissues came about because of the aggressive
>> lobbying by jazz lovers and the foresight of a few label executives. The
>> same can happen with early gospel.
>> Music historians should also get involved: major record labels can form
>> alliances with archivists like the Smithsonian, Rounder Records and the
>> Library of Congress. Each day, irreplaceable master tapes deteriorate,
>> get
>> lost, or are simply tossed out.
>> It would be more than a cultural disaster to forever lose this music. It
>> would be a sin.
>> Robert Darden, an assistant professor of English at Baylor University, is
>> the author of "People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music."
> --
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