Joyful, loud gospel songs needed!
November 12, 2017 6:08 AM   Subscribe

I’ve discovered that gospel music is very comforting and energizing to me in these trying times we’re living in. Please recommend your favorite joyful, loud, uplifting, inspiring gospel songs. I’m looking for suggestions for specific versions of gospel songs—classics or modern— that are immediate mood-boosters—sung by individual artists, groups, or even better, full choirs. Thanks!
posted by bookmammal to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Oh Happy Day -
posted by Sassyfras at 6:52 AM on November 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Go right to the source!

Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" - his most famous composition and a favorite of MLK and Mahalia Jackson.

If you can track it down, the documentary Say Amen, Somebody about gospel music, featuring Dorsey and Willie Mae Ford Smith, is excellent.
posted by Preserver at 7:04 AM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

See if you can get hold of a copy of this CD. (I know, I'm appallingly old-fashioned.) I bought it years ago and it fits your "joyful, loud, uplifting, inspiring gospel songs" to a T, althought it may not be quite "gospel" in the sense you meant. Maddy Prior has other CDs of hymns as well, but I don't have those. Atleast one of them may be available for download.
posted by Logophiliac at 7:06 AM on November 12, 2017

Mighty Clouds of Joy - No ways tired, He's my rooftop, Everybody ought to praise his name
Soweto Gospel Choir many
Blind Boys of Alabama - People get ready, Give a man a home, Wade in the water
Gillian Welch from O, Brother soundtrack - I'll fly away
Abbysian Baptist choir - I want to ride that glory train, Said I wasn't going to tell nobody
posted by bullatony at 7:07 AM on November 12, 2017

Any version of Hallelujah Anyway!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:19 AM on November 12, 2017

Every Praise by Hezekiah Walker!
posted by jgirl at 7:19 AM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Someone already got "Oh Happy Day" ...

You can't go wrong with Aretha.

Jeralyn Steele is pretty great. This particular recording isn't the best but it's a place to start.

Sweet Honey In the Rock is a little bit of an outlier from mainstream gospel music - but definitely worth listening to.

For those who love the sound of gospel music but aren't really on board with the words, The Gospel of Colonus, a musical setting of Oedipus at Colonus, is fantastic. Actually I think it's fantastic for everyone.

I couldn't find the version of Peace Train I was looking for but I found this one with Dolly Parton and Ladysmith Black Mambazo which is less gospel-y but still fun.

Oh yeah. Nina Simone's got some stuff that falls under gospel - like Heaven Belongs to You and I Shall Be Released.
posted by bunderful at 7:22 AM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Shakin’ the Rafters by the Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir is the album I universally recommend in such times.
posted by mykescipark at 7:39 AM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

You should look up the whole anthem of Aretha Franklin songs called Gospel Greats from 1999. My favorite song from that is "Mary Don't You Weep."
posted by colfax at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2017

I'm So Glad (Trouble Don't Last Always) by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers

Hey, I'm an atheist -- and it works on me.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 8:55 AM on November 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wonderland by Coco Love Alcorn has the gospel music vibe in a lot of its songs. It's not specifically religious, but positive, uplifting and high energy!
posted by kate4914 at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2017

"Oh Happy Day" was the crossover hit for the Edwin Hawkins Singers; for the Staple Singers, it was "I'll Take You There." (The latter group produced gospel and r&b singer Mavis Staples, who is the lead vocalist on that single. The family surname is Staples, plural, but the group's name used Staple, singular.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:50 AM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I haven't developed a taste for the more complex harmonies of post-1990s gospel, so these are all older songs.

Solomon Burke and the Blind Boys of Alabama - None Of Us Are Free

Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount - His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Louis Armstrong - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Probably any recording of Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho; the recording I grew up with, by the Janz Brothers, is nowhere to be found.

Beverley Crawford - Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus

The Cathedral Quartet - This Old House / Oh When The Saints

Larry Ford and the Gaithers - Jerusalem

Mahalia Jackson - Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir - Yes God Is Real

And I'll add another vote each for Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
posted by clawsoon at 12:00 PM on November 12, 2017

Neko Case’s treatment of this one is infectious (though the apparent confusion of John the Baptist with John the Apostle might rankle some purists).

I’m also going to recommend Moses Hogan’s arrangements, though they are often more stirring/wistful/downright eerie than jubilant. He died several years before YouTube was a thing, so his Moses Hogan Chorale isn’t as well-represented there as it should be, but if you can sort through a million low-fi videos of awkward school choirs and solo recitals, you might find some real gems.
posted by armeowda at 12:23 PM on November 12, 2017

I'm a fan of Roy Clark's gospel songs. He's got a good voice and is a premier guitar player. I used to have a gospel album by him (that I thought were originals by him but can't find any info on it), and did housework to it.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:22 PM on November 12, 2017

A few songs from the Preacher's Wife soundtrack feature Whitney Houston and the Georgia Mass choir. They're pretty fantastic:

I Go To the Rock

Hold On, Help Is On the Way


I Love the Lord

Note: a few of these start a bit quiet but build to quite a rousing finale!

Oh, and,
Margret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers!
posted by stillmoving at 2:47 PM on November 12, 2017

Well, what immediately came to mind is this contemporary piece (since OP said modern is OK) Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (Faith: A Hymns Collection Album Version) by Avalon which I find to be very joyful, loud and uplifting. You might also want to check out Avalon's Testify to Love which I sing along to in my car whenever it comes on.

I also assume you are familiar with Never Alone from the Fame soundtrack?

Other possibilities include I love this kind of music, though I realize my taste and that of the OP may not match.
posted by forthright at 5:01 PM on November 12, 2017

You might also find some good suggestions here (previously).
posted by stillmoving at 11:05 PM on November 12, 2017

Say Yes, the Michelle Williams version.
posted by phoenixy at 11:22 PM on November 12, 2017

This one doesn't get really kicking until about 2:20, but it's worth the build up. "Let It Rise,"--Mighty Men of Valor
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:53 AM on November 13, 2017

Sister Rosetta Tharpe! Up Above My Head is a classic with a killer guitar solo (you might also recognize it from a brief clip that appears in the movie Amelie)

Golden Gate Quartet - Gospel Train. Cool song! They also recorded approximately 1 million songs, so there's a huge catalog to look through.

Not loud, but this song is cool! Jezebel, sung by the Landis family.

Martha Carson - Satisfied. Part of the wave of white "happy gospel" singers from the ~50s, this song is super catchy. It was supposedly written in response to people who disapproved of her divorce, who asked if she was "satisfied" with it.

Hallelujah - Second Irish Sacred Harp Convention. If you want loud, you can definitely get it from sacred harp singing, as with this one sung by the Irish Sacred Harp convention a few years ago. Sacred harp is an American tradition, specifically a Southern tradition, that came out of older singing traditions from New England.

Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux and congregation - How Happy Am I. I don't actually know too much about this one, but I used to have a video tape with this clip on it, and I remember that this was filmed in DC in the early 40s, I think.

Aubrey Ghent - I Got a Feeling Everything is Gonna Be Alright. This is something different. Sacred steel is gospel music played on lap steel or pedal steel guitar, and it tends to be both extremely joyful and incredibly loud.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:53 PM on November 13, 2017

SO MANY great suggestions—thanks everybody! I honestly lost track of who recommended what, but I’ve downloaded a ton of great songs—some that I was familiar with but had forgotten, and many that are new to me. Thanks again!
posted by bookmammal at 4:42 PM on November 15, 2017

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