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SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - Pilgrim Jubilees

The Pilgrim Jubilees were mainstays of Chicago’s vibrant gospel music scene, always staying atop the latest trends in music.

Founded in 1934, the Pilgrim Jubilees enjoyed a long run in gospel music, right into the 1990s. Lead by brothers Cleve and Clay Graham and Major Robinson, the Jubes – as they were affectionately called – were able to change as gospel music changed ... and always managed to sound great.

That meant, beginning with their breakout LP Walk Out in 1961, they enjoyed hit after hit – “We Need a Prayer,” “Stop by Here,” “True Story,” “Stretch Out” and many others. One of the distinctives of the group was Clay’s sermonettes on songs like “True Story” -- which is based – not surprisingly – on an event that happened to him on the streets of Philadelphia.

In 1979, the Jubes released Homecoming: Recorded Live in Chicago, their longtime hometown. With a smokin’ full band, they cover many of their biggest hits, including “Stretch Out” – which was one of the very first gospel songs to feature an electric bass guitar. Oh, and one other thing about “Stretch Out,” the original was arranged by blues legend Willie Dixon!

2243 Pilgrim Jubilees - Stretch Out 44100 1.mp3

MUSIC: “Stepping Out” by the Pilgrim Jubilees, from the LP Homecoming: Recorded Live in Chicago.

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.