Black Gospel Music Lyrics
Black gospel music lyrics not only celebrate Christianity and faith in Jesus Christ but also the rich history of African Americans in this nation. Many people refer to this style of song as black gospel in order to distinguish it from other forms of Christian music lyrics or Southern Gospel songs.
Black gospel music lyrics have their roots back 300 years or more in old Negro spirituals that were sung or chanted during the days of slavery. Black gospel music lyrics were sung as a form of devotion and testament to faith and sometimes rebellion.
When black gospel music began, the lyrics were a freewheeling part of a religious service, which some other denominations called “Holy Rollers”. Individual church members were encouraged to testify their faith in the Lord.
The lyrics and music that erupted from the testaments were a spontaneous form of singing and speaking that merged music, words, faith and culture like no other artistic devotions or creations before it.
Dancing with the Holy Ghost and repetitions of catchphrases from the other revelers and witnesses ensued. Traveling preachers started to incorporate the black gospel music lyrics into their sermons and the overall experience of the religious presentation.
Besides the black gospel lyrics, the music started taking on forms of boogie-woogie, jazz, blues and barrelhouse music with rhythmic drumbeats and horns. These musical forms and religious lyrics were then transported inside the church settings to enhance the experience for the churchgoers.
Bessie Smith, Mahalia Jackson, Roberta Martin and James Cleveland helped popularize and commercialize black gospel music and lyrics in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The Flamingoes, the Orioles and the Ravens brought the quartet structure and a cappella techniques to the recording studio.
Some of the most prominent black recording artists would incorporate black gospel music and lyrics into their own individual sounds. Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Marvin Gaye brought their black gospel roots into the music scene to help popularize this new sound and a lyrical sophistication not found in other forms.