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Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - Jean Austin

Birmingham native Jean Austin’s hoarse and commanding voice is perfect for her slow and smokey version of “I Ain’t No Stranger Now

Impresario Don Robey’s empire in Houston included the superb Peacock and Song Bird gospel music labels. Of the two, Song Bird was the more adventuresome – and that’s where we find this fine 45 by Jean Austin, “I Ain’t No Stranger Now” backed with “It’s a Good Day.”

Austin came to fame with the Dorothy Norwood Singers and often toured with the Thunderbolt of the Midwest, Brother Joe May. She released a number of really good songs for several labels over the years, including “The Failure is Not in God” and “Straight ‘Em.” “I Ain’t No Stranger Now” is the kind of slow and bluesy Hammond organ-dominated gospel shout that she specialized in... and few could equal.

MUSIC: Jean Austin, “I Ain’t No Stranger Now” 45 (March 3, 2024)

2409 Jean Austin - I Ain't No Stranger Now.mp3

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU and the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries.

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Robert F. Darden is the author of two dozen books, most recently: Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-In to Resurrection City (Penn State University Press, 2016); Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume I: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement(Penn State University Press, 2014); Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor(Abingdon Press, 2008), Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples: Understanding the Bible by Telling Its Stories(Abingdon Press, 2006); and People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music(Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2004).