Daptone Records’ Gabriel Roth Teaches You the Gospel

Gabriel Roth seen here at Daptone Studios. Photo courtesy of Daptone Records

Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

“It’s definitely a challenge to present gospel music to people in the best way,” says Gabriel Roth, the man behind the Daptone label whose release schedule this week involves an a cappella album from the Como Mamas, a gospel trio from Mississippi. Recoded at Mt. Mariah church, the record showcases the stirring voices of Ester Mae Smith, Angela Taylor and Della Daniels. Roth puts the project’s charm this way: “People are looking for feeling in music and sometimes it’s elusive because these days people use all these tricks and techniques to try and make something emotive and it gets lost. But this record has so much feeling and depths to it and not just in a spiritual way. Even though there’s no band, the rhythm of the record is so rocking.” Building on the appeal of the Como Mamas, Hive got Roth to round-up five gospel entry points — both classics and from the Daptone label — for all you non-believers.

1. The Soul Stirrers, “Just Another Day” (1952)

The Soul Stirrers was my biggest in into gospel music. I got a record I think called The Soul of Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers and I got real heavy into it. To me, the Soul Stirrers are kinda the Beatles of quartet singing. They were the number one group and Sam Cooke’s contributions as not just a singer but also a song writer were amazing. To me that’s the side of Sam Cooke that not enough people know. Everybody knows him as one of the greatest R&B singers but I think few people realize how amazing a gospel singer he was. With the Soul Stirrers in general, the harmonies and the rhythms are amazing — I don’t think anybody matches what they were doing. There’s so many quartet groups in this genre, but if you’re going to start somewhere it’s the Soul Stirrers.

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