SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - Thomas Dorsey
One of the rarest items in the entire Black Gospel Music Preservation Program is Thomas Dorsey’s “How About You” from 1932.
One of the rarest items in the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University is a delightful 78 from 1932 with the self-proclaimed “father” of gospel music, Thomas Dorsey. Dorsey, of course, is the person who most popularized gospel across the country, ably assisted by Mahalia Jackson and Sallie Martin. Dorsey wasn’t much of a businessman, but he wrote some of gospel’s greatest songs, including “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” “Peace in the Valley,” and the two tracks on the beautiful old Vocalion label, “How About You” and “If You See My Savior.”
Dorsey only recorded a handful of tracks during his long career. But on this 78, you can hear all of the influences that helped him create the market for gospel: Dorsey’s piano playing is influenced by ragtime, barrel house and even hokum. His voice is smooth and easy and extremely casual. And yet, with these songs, you can hear the beginnings of modern gospel.
“How About You” was graciously loaned to the collection by Dr. Stephanie Boddie of Baylor University – and the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program is forever grateful!
MUSIC: “How About You,” Thomas Dorsey 45, Side 1
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.