Spirit Of Memphis - Happy In The Service Of The Lord

Published Tuesday 26th July 2005
Spirit Of Memphis - Happy In The Service Of The Lord
Spirit Of Memphis - Happy In The Service Of The Lord

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13245-2883
LABEL: Acrobat Music ADDCD3007
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 2
RRP: £12.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

For my money, the 1949 recording of "The Day Is Passed And Gone" by the Spirit Of Memphis Quartet is one of the greatest gospel recordings in the history of the genre. On it a sermonette of raw passion is cocooned in an eerie cushion of oohs while a hauntingly soulful singer draws out a mournful melody. The Spirit Of Memphis were crammed with stunning switch-lead singers - first tenor Willmer "Little Axe" Broadnax, tenor/baritone Jethro "Jet" Bledsoe and the staggering baritone Silas Steele whose rasping, bellowing baritone could remove the rafters from the church roof particularly when he broke into sermon mid-song. With such dazzling singers and a flamboyant stage act which saw the group dressed in brightly coloured suits, the group were stars of the early '50s gospel programmes. On record they sold well too, even if record boss Syd Nathan of King/DeLuxe Records kept most of their royalties. Now this lovingly compiled and exhaustively researched double CD offers 47 tracks of their cathartic, emotional music. If you've yet to encounter these classic practitioners of acappella gospel or you're a long time fan wanting to replace rare and scratchy vinyl this album will be an essential purchase.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Lola Moore in Memphis, TN @ 02:20 on Jun 8 2013

Love the Happy in the Service of the Lord CDs. "Blessed are the Dead?" What can one say? What an awesome group of singers. I heard my parent talking about "Jet" Bledsoe and Silas Steele. I love every song on the CDs, and "Jet" Bledsoe just blew me away with every song that he sang lead on. His voice is inside my head for good. Just regret that I never knew him or heard him sang in person. My lost.



Posted by Pearlie Gaston in Jackson, MS @ 16:17 on Feb 10 2013

Even though they didn't get the recognition some gospel groups got; it's my opinion that the Spirit of Memphis was the best quartet group that ever recorded. The mighty voiced Jethroe Bledsoe was a phenom of gospel. This was "THE" group in the late 40s and 50s. Sure do miss this type of quartet singing. I have the CDs and have given some as gifts to other old time Spirit of Memphis lovers. Thank God for the gift of this great quartet known as the Spirit of Memphis.



Posted by Queen Hawkins in Eustis, Florida @ 19:29 on Sep 11 2012

I grew up in Tunica, MS, a town just South of Memphis and this Group, The Spirit of Memphis along with the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi was my favorite gospel group. Lord, could they sing. "Jet" Bledsoe was an awesome lead singer and Archie Brownlee was a soul rocker as well. Never heard ANYONE like them. I purchased the double CD a few months ago, and can't stop listing to it. I give it 5 stars. GREAT!



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