The Greater Bright Morning Star Baptist Church is still making great gospel music in New Orleans after more than 60 years.
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Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments. I'm Robert Darden. The musical legacy of New Orleans is almost unparalleled in American music history, and it has been a hot-bed of gospel music ever since Mahalia Jackson. Since then, a number of fine groups have come from the Crescent City, most notably the Zion Harmonizers and the Chosen Five. There has been so much gospel in New Orleans, in fact, that there was once a full-time gospel label that catered only to New Louisiana gospel artists Booker Records. Booker was regionally popular in the 1960s and '70s, releasing dozens upon dozens of LPs and 45s, all eagerly sought by collectors today, though few of the acts ever gained much attention outside of the justly famed New Orleans Jazz Festival. One 45 from Booker that recently caught my attention was the wonderfully named Greater Bright Morning Star Baptist Church Radio Choir, who recorded the enthusiastic, if not terribly polished, "Help Me Stay on the Road (Til I Get Home)", some time in the mid-'60s. The church, incidentally, is still there on Louisiana Avenue in New Orleans and still has a lively music ministry, even today! MUSIC: 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.