The Gospel Cavalier’s sweet, mellow sound wasn’t like much else in the gospel marketplace in 1960.
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Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments. I’m Robert Darden. The early 1960s, the mighty Savoy Records label dominated gospel music – it had the biggest artists, with the best budgets and the most extensive promotion. Everybody wanted to be on Savoy. So, from 1960 to about 1963, Savoy created its subsidiary, Sharp Records, also based in Newark, to experiment and handle the over-flow of riches. Sharp released everything from the Gospel Caravans to legendary blues artists Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. Also on Sharp were the little known Gospel Cavaliers, who didn’t sound like anyone else. Soloist Louis Johnson was a crooner and their songs were often more spare – actually more modern sounding – than just about anything else out there. The Cavaliers released this single, “He Gave Us You,” in 1960 and followed a year later with the LP, Love With Thee. By 1963, they’re gone ... never to record under that name again. But “He Gave Us You” is a tantalizing little gem, a sweet-spirited hint at another direction that gospel music MIGHT have gone – but didn’t – in 1960. MUSIC: “He Gave Us You,” Gospel Cavaliers, 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.