“Going to a meeting” is a core concept of most Southern American church traditions, including the ones in which I was raised. As were songs of praise. Can I get a witness? Amen!
While the opening/closing of churches to worship has, sadly, become politicized and polarized through Life During Quarantine Time, I’m betting good money that most smart church-going folks are safely getting their praise on at home and/or with appropriate social distancing measures in place. But while there may be no meeting tonight, alas, that doesn’t mean that good Gospel Music on the hi-fi can’t move the soul to swing. And, equally often, the hips and feet can get into the action too. There’s a reason that many-to-most of the 20th Century’s greatest soul, blues, pop and R&B artists got their starts in church choirs. This music is powerful. And I love it, dearly.
On a music-oriented web forum that I frequent, I framed and posed a question about “comfort music,” and I quote that premise below, lightly edited:
We’re all familiar with the concept of “Comfort Food,” which we can succinctly describe as “food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.”
I’m sure a lot of folks are turning to those comfort foods in quarantine. I am, though trying to limit consumption to avoid concomitant waist-spread. But I also find myself listening to “Comfort Music,” which I suppose I could describe by adapting the definition above: “Music that provides consolation or feeling of well-being, typically any with a highly melodic or other pleasing content and associated with childhood or music played by one’s family.”
Most of my Comfort Music is classic Southern church gospel music, Rev James Cleveland a special favorite. Not sure why he grabbed my attention as a kid, but he did, and those songs take me back to (mostly) easier times whenever I hear them. The iPod playlist we spin around the house has had a bunch of Rev James stuff on it for a few weeks now, along with some other classics of the genre by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, The Caravans, The Violinaires, Staple Singers, Shirley Caesar and others. It hits the spot, and gets the job done.
What’s your comfort music? Are you spinning any of it now?
In follow-up to yesterday’s post, Jazz Crowd, today I’m posting the 12 Gospel songs that have spun most frequently around our house over the past few months. They really do hit the spot. I also open those two questions in the quote to readers here, too. What’s doing it for you, until we can all go to a meeting together again?