SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - Mattie Johnson and the Stars of Faith
In just 2 minutes and 20 seconds, Mattie Johnson and the Stars of Faith complete wreck a church with their manic rendition of “I’ve Got Shoes.”
Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments. I’m Robert Darden.
One of the greatest of all of the spirituals is “I’ve Got Shoes” – and there are hundreds of versions of this ancient song, all of which celebrate the joyful abandon contained in the words and music. In the pre-Civil War American South, an enslaved person could be killed for wearing shoes – the easier to escape with, you see. So the spiritual celebrates that great day when not only is everybody in heaven, but everybody has shoes!
My favorite version of this classic is by Mattie Johnson and the Stars of Faith of Washington D.C. This is NOT the Marion Williams’ Stars of Faith, but another group altogether, one built around Mattie’s powerhouse of a voice.
The LP is clearly recorded live – although the liner notes don’t tell us where – and the crowd is already getting the spirit by the time Mattie and the gang start closing it out. In just 2 minutes and 20 seconds, the Stars of Faith completely destroy the church with an absolutely manic, full-tilt chunk of glorious gospel music – their take on “I’ve Got Shoes”!
MUSIC: “I’ve Got Shoes” from Mattie Johnson and the Stars of Faith LP, He’s a Friend of Mine: Live in Washington D.C., Side 2, Track 4
I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.