You don’t need to believe to love gospel music. This playlist covers many decades of recordings, but here’s the most recent picks from my personal playlist.
Here are the roots of rock and roll, RnB and hip hop. This music is about transcendence and community. It’s about surrendering to something bigger than yourself, and in doing so, there is ecstasy and joy. In gospel music, that surrender is to God, but as many singers discovered, that feeling can be easily repurposed to secular ends. There is a tension there, as well as a potential linking and union of the sacred and the profane. Life is both.
In either case, the musicians and the listener form a community— something that again is larger than the individual. Oddly, for all the emphasis on individuality and self in our culture, we are often at our best and feel the best when we leave ourselves behind.
That’s another kind of tension from which this music draws its power.
Happy new year.
Belle – Al Green
God’s Got It – Reverend Charlie Jackson
Long Walk To D.C. – The Staple Singers
Only God Knows – Young Fathers (ft. Leith Congregational Choir)
Stomp (Remix) – Kirk Franklin
Spiritual – Donald Lawrence & Co.
Wayfaring Stranger – Jamie Woon
We Shall Overcome – The Freedom Singers
I Press – Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ
Jesus Will Fix It – Reverend John Wilkins
Poor Wafaring Stranger – Puente
Stand On The Word (Larry Levan Mix) – The Joubert Singers
Trouble the Water – Black Kold Madina
Way Down in the Hole – The Blind Boys of Alabama
Keep The Devil Off – Big K.R.I.T.
Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning – Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi
A Message For The Saints – Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers
Revolution – Kirk Franklin
Take Yo‘ Praise – Camille Yarbrough
Nobody Knows – Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir
Pray a Little Longer – Lucy Rodgers
Prodigal Son – Reverend John Wilkins
Lead Me Guide Me – Moses Josiah
Come Healing – Leonard Cohen
Amazing Black – Kold Madina
Like A Ship – Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir
Praise Joint – Kirk Franklin
Sunshine In My Soul – Moses Josiah
Oh La De Da – The Staple Singers
The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
Way Down in the Hole – Tom Waits
Blessings – Chance The Rapper
How Great – Chance The Rapper