Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - The Christian Soldiers
The Christian Soldiers were one of the many gospel groups to record for the colorful impresario Don Robey’s fine Song Bird label in Houston.
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Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments. I’m Robert Darden.
One of gospel music’s greatest characters was Don Robey – Robey founded the wonderful Peacock label in Houston, but he was better known in the Bayou City for his nightclub and rough and tumble ways. Both Little Richard and Big Mama Thornton tell absolutely frightening stories about their time recording for Peacock – and how all contract negotiations were conducted with a loaded pistol on Robey’s desk!
When Peacock was founded in 1949, it featured some very fine R&B and soul acts, but by the early 1960s, Robey turned to gospel and many of the country’s best artists flocked to the label, including the Dixie Hummingbirds. In 1965, Robey created the Song Bird label, just for gospel, and attracted Inez Andrews of the Caravans, the Sons of the Birds and the Jackson Southernaires, among others.
Among the others were the Christian Soldiers, a deep soul southern group who released a series of fine 45s in the mid-‘60s. My favorite release is “The Harvest is Almost Done,” a half-spoken, half-sung lament, featuring earnest entreaties by the raspy-voiced – and uncredited – lead singer. It’s a heartfelt ballad of the sorts you don’t hear anymore, in either gospel OR the pop music worlds.
MUSIC: “The Harvest is Almost Over,” The Christian Soldiers, 45
I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.