Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - The Brockinton Ensemble

May 30, 2021

The unknown Rev. Leon Hamner and the Holy City Travelers cut loose on the gospel rave-up, “I’ve Got the Love of Jesus.”

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Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments.  I’m Robert Darden. (Music for a beat or two more) With a few breaks here or there, Philadelphia’s Brockington Ensemble could have rivaled the Edwin and Walter Hawkins groups in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Professor Irvin Brockington’s mass choir had been at the cutting edge of contemporary gospel music since 1963, thrilling audiences up and down the East Coast. Alas, the Ensemble never had that breakthrough hit like “O Happy Day,” which propelled the Edwin Hawkins Singer to #1 in 1969. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Brockington’s group recorded for HOB, TSOP, Savoy and other gospel labels over the course of 14 LPs and CDs.One of their best was the LP Guide Me, released in 1970 on the HOB label. Brockington arranged most of the tracks and the Ensemble really catches fire on the title track -- a full-tilt gospel romp. In recent years, the Ensembles have stuck close to Philly, getting together mostly for reunions and Coming Home celebrations. Brockington himself led Refuge Apostolic Church of God in Christ there for the last 20 years, until his passing in May 2020, leaving behind a legacy great gospel music. MUSIC: “Guide Me” by the Brockington Ensemble, from the Guide Me LP, Side 1, Track 1 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.