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Black History Collection: Soul of the Church

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Enliven and enrich your celebration of Black History Month with rarely seen performances by the biggest stars of Gospel’s Golden Era in Black History Collection: Soul of the Church, heralding onto DVD Jan. 19 from Infinity Entertainment Group.

More than sweet sound, gospel moves listeners and brings them to their feet. This soul-stirring music – once limited to the African-American church – has transcended barriers, becoming Americana mainstream and capturing creative and spiritual imaginations globally.

But traditionally and to this day, gospel (soulful divas and dons, quartets and choirs) is at its roots “Black folk music” and fervent, camp-meeting religion. Gospel, meaning “good news,” derives its name from the books of the New Testament (the gospels of the apostles).

Though the genre continues to grow in variety and sound, gospel dates to an oral tradition of the 18th century – when many Blacks were unable to read – allowing all to participate in worship.

Ministering to the downtrodden and disenfranchised is at its core.

No other show, film or single album captures the rich history of the golden age of gospel as did TV Gospel Time (1962-65).

The half-hour, Chicago-based show aired on NBC Sunday mornings – merging music and God’s word – attracting a mostly African-American audience (and sponsors), but introduced the genre to a non-Black audience. Featuring guests on location (to save travel costs) it highlighted non-professional performers alongside the day’s biggest stars.

This two-disc collection transferred from the show’s original Kinescopes, includes enigmatic performances (rarely, if ever, seen since their original broadcast) by Rev. James Cleveland, Ernestine Washington, Blind Boys of Mississippi, Barrett Sisters, Ruth Brown, Sallie Martin, Alex Bradford, Dixie Hummingbirds, Jessie Mae Renfro, Harmonizing Four, Clouds of Joy, Highway QCs, Marie Knight, Caravans, Three Professors of Gospel and more!

Making a joyful noise unto the Lord invites us all to come together … to honor the past, look to the future and – through song – renew our faith.


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