The mainstay of that city’s vibrant gospel music scene, the Cleveland Golden Echoes have been thrilling audiences since 1938.
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Chicago, Detroit, Birmingham, Atlanta have all been legendary gospel music hotbeds, almost from the beginning. But other major U.S. cities have made important contributions as well, including Los Angeles, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Cleveland. Cleveland’s gospel tradition can be traced to the 1930s – and it still features a number of churches that are required stops on the gospel highway.
Since 1948, various incarnations of the Cleveland Golden Echoes have been a beloved staple of the old city on Lake Erie. The Echoes only recorded a handful of LPs and 45s over the years, most notably for Checker Records, although they did fine work for CAM Records and this particularly rare 45 for the Bounty label.
Led for decades by the full-throated southern soul singing of Albert Scott, the Golden Echoes will take you back to the sounds of Brook Benton, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnny Otis and Charlie Brown. “For 30 Pieces of Silver” starts as a spoken lament, then seamlessly morphs into an impassioned slow blues burner. Besides Scott, the Golden Echoes tight-knit harmonies, the first-rate band and the production by civil rights legend Gene Barges are all truly outstanding. It’s simply a brilliant piece of gospel vinyl.
MUSIC: “For 30 Pieces of Silver,” by the Cleveland Golden Echoes, 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.