One of the treasures of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project is this rare 78 by the I.C. Glee Quartet from 1929. Click to listen to this episode.
Click the title above to read along.
Listen to this episode's featured song:
Welcome to Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments. I’m Robert Darden. One of the oldest, and most delightful items in the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project is this fragile 10 inch 78 on shellac by the I.C. Glee Quartet, “God Told the Poor Woman to Cook All She Had” from 1929. It was recorded in Memphis that year by OKeh Records’ field unit in a week-long session that included seminal tracks by the Rev. J.M. Gates and the first recording by blues legend Hambone Willie and his classic “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”. The I.C. Glee Quartet were a group of Illinois Central Railroad employees, one of several such quartets employed by the railroad. Based, like the railroad, in Memphis, they traveled up and down the Illinois Central’s New Orleans to Chicago line, singing at every major stop. They also sang on the trains, much to the delight of the passengers, and sometimes even traveled in their own car. What you’re hearing is properly called “jubilee,” an old spiritual that’s been arranged for four voices. The I.C. Singers recorded one more 78 for OKeh the following year and – like much of American popular music – vanished with the onset of the Great Depression. But this one of the great rarities and treasures in the Baylor University collection. MUSIC: “God Told the Poor Woman to Cook All She Had,” the I.C. Glee Quartet, 78. 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.