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Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - The Awakening Echoes

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The Awakening Echoes were one of a long list of innovative gospel artists who recorded for Houston’s Peacock label.

We’ve talked a lot about Don Robey’s eclectic Peacock label out of Houston. During the 1960s, it couldn’t compete with industry giant Savoy’s roster and marketing clout, so Robey and his team focused on creating innovative, sometimes off-beat gospel artists. Robey long claimed it was he who introduced the bass guitar and drums to gospel.

The Awakening Echoes – and I love that name! – were one of Peacock’s many forays into modern gospel. They released a handful of 45s for the label in the mid-1960s, but none of them ever really caught on... perhaps they were a little ahead of their time.

A good example of this is “Heavenly Vision” from 1963. Quirky and dramatic, the Echoes work hard to incorporate ‘60s jazz motifs and solos into the basic framework of a gospel song. It’s fun and unpredictable and quite clearly something that was NOT going to appeal to gospel music traditionalists and purists!

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“Heavenly Vision” - The Awakening Echoes

MUSIC: “Heavenly Vision,” 45, Awakening Echoes

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