Bleg: Sg 101
So I’m teaching a senior seminar this semester on Gospel Music and American Literature, which is … well, basically what it sounds like: we read literature that appropriates gospel music in some way (texts include Bastard Out of Carolina, Just Above My Head, Southern Baptist Sissies, and, of course, The Gospel Singer, as well as selections from Elmer Gantry and Damnation of Theron Ware) and listen to music alongside the readings (prepping for this course in part accounts for my extended holiday hiatus).
To paraphrase James Goff, southern gospel makes perfect sense to insiders and often almost no sense to outsiders. Which is where you come in. Pretend you had to introduce southern gospel to a bunch of undergraduates with little to no knowledge of the genre (the course isn’t actually designated “101″ but that’s not a bad shorthand for the kind of approach we’re talking about here as far as introducing the music goes). What three songs - any time period - would you use? Please show your work whenever possible (i.e. YouTube clips or other online references).
PS: Thanks for the running the asylum while I was gone. Seriously.
Update: Ok, so the first class was this a.m. and I went with (in this order): “Heaven’s Joys Await” (the Cathedrals, with GVB, Faithful); “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now (the Goodmans); and “God on the Mountain” (the McKameys). The response was positive and insightful (Peg and the girls’ matching outfits were a special favorite - the women get all the good lines and the flashy clothes, one student (rightly) said … the guys just sort of stand there (right again!) - as was Vestal’s hanky … I guess they’re partial to props and costumes, this group). Thanks for the help! Keep ‘em coming. There’s an entire semester of songs to plug into the syllabus.Email this Post