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This World is Just a Dressing Room: A Guide to Gospel on Bandcamp

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Rev Johnny L Jones

Classic black American gospel remains one of the building blocks of contemporary popular music. The style that developed in black American churches combined emotive, improvisatory lead vocals with energetic call-and-response singing from the choir, and was driven by hard-charging rhythms. It was a major influence on everyone from Ray Charles to Al Green, and you can still hear it in Beyoncé’s powerhouse testimonies, in serpentwithfeet‘s soaring vibratos, and in the rhythmic flow of rap, which harkens back to the declarative delivery of black American pastors.

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