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SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - The Goldenaires Choir

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The Goldenaires Choir were one of the great proponents of the old styled arrangements of classic spirituals, including this rendition of “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel.”

John A. Dickens founded the Eastern Choral Guild in 1947, seeking to preserve the singing of Negro spirituals. With Dickens’ untimely passing, the group became the Goldenaires Choir, under the direction of the talented Orita Graine. The Goldenaires specialized in singing the old spirituals in an arranged, almost formal, style, much like the Fisk Jubilee Singers had done decades earlier.

During the folk music boom of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the Goldenaires became widely popular, both in the United States and in France and national publications like The New York Times lauded their LPs.

One of those releases, Hear the Word of the Lord on the Vox label from 1959, contains 14 great examples of that full-bodied a Capella style of spiritual singing – and includes “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Deep River,” “There is a Balm in Gilead,” “Get Away Jordan,” “I’ve Been ‘Buked” and this up tempo reading of the beloved spiritual, “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel.”

2210 The Goldenaires Choir - Ezekiel Saw the Wheel.mp3

MUSIC: “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel,” from the Goldenaires Choir LP Hear the Word of the Lord, Side 1, Track 7

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.