Richmond Virginia’s: Harmonizing Four

The Harmonizing Four (with a fifth!)

The Harmonizing Four (with a fifth!)

In my father’s and mother’s house music was sacred, which is not to say that it was always religious music that got played on the stereo. It means that music was valued; my sister and brothers were taught that listening to music and playing music was something worthy to pursue because it was one of God’s great gifts to humans. Music was an art, a refined expression of the human seeking and connecting with the divine.

That conviction has remained with me over the years and applies just as truly to Bob Dylan, soukous, ghazals, honky tonk as much as it does to overtly religious music.

As it so happens today the Washerman’s Dog is hungry for some sweet black gospel music. This record began playing late last night and has not stopped all day. It is simple music, sung in tight harmony, accompanied by the barest of instruments and with the most profound and heartfelt message. Get Right with God.

The Harmonizing Four were a gospel singing group out of Richmond, Virginia. Never trustful of the music industry or its trends, they stuck to a tried&true model of singing straight-ahead gospel songs in a style that was popular in the 40s and 50’s. As the 60s and 70s came along, they didn’t deviate from their formula. A wonderful combination of tenor (John Scott) lead held up by a deep bass profundo (Willie Peyton), the group also included a certain Lonnie Smith, the father of the giant of the acid jazz keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith!

I don’t want to say too much more because this music deserves simply to be heard again and again. The only thing I add is that their version of Where He Will Lead is about the prettiest thing I’ve heard in many a year.

cover

Track Listing:

01 I Found the Lord

02 Come over Here

03 Amazing Grace

04 Joy in the Beulah Land

05 I Started in Jesus

06 This Wicked Race

07 Mother’s Prayer

08 Give My Heart to Jesus

09 Beyond the Sunset

10 I’ll Go Lord Send Me

11 King Jesus Will Roll the Clouds Away

12 I Trust in God

13 Lord, I’m Coming Home

14 Say a Word

15 Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown

16 Where He Leads Me

17 Jesus Us a Friend to Everyone

18 Let God Abide

19 I Shall Not Be Moved

20 Protect My Loved Ones

21 Keep Me All the Way

22 Working for the Lord

23 Stand by Me

24 Lift Every Voice and Sing

H 4

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