In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The Pilgrim Travelers were formed by Joe Johnson and the Davis brothers in Houston in the early 1930's. By 1942, the group had moved to Los Angeles and was joined by Kylo Turner and Keith Barber. In the early years they mimicked the style of the Golden Gates' jubilee and the Soul Stirrers' gospel. Eventually the excellence of their leads set them apart. In 1945, J. W. Alexander joined the group and became their manager. Under Alexander, the group became more flamboyant in their showmanship often wrecking the churches they sang in, while charming the women. In 1947 the group made some records for small L.A. labels. Later that year Art Rupe signed them to Specialty Records just after they got a new baritone, Jesse Whitaker. Rupe created one of the first companies to nurture African-American gospel music. Originally, the Pilgrim Travelers were recorded a cappella. Eventually, the floor was miked to pick up their percussive foot tapping which was marketed as walking rhythm spirituals. The group enjoyed immense popularity as a result. Between 1947 and 1956, the Pilgrim Travelers recorded over a hundred sides on Specialty. During their reign, they influenced such singers as Ray Charles, Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke. Though the members of the group have faded from memory, their musical legacy will live on.
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Jesus Hits like the Atom Bomb
Review: Famous as the group from which soul singer Lou Rawls launched his solo career, the Pilgrim Travellers were one of the most hard-working and touring gospel groups of the 1950's. This value priced double LP set captures their intensity and fervor, and the sheer force of their conviction. Their intonation and the sound quality of the recording are well above average. Songs such as 'Jesus, I'm Thankful,' 'The Old Rugged Cross' and 'I Want My Crown' are personal and heartfelt testimonials to the power of salvation. Their most popular song, 'Jesus Met The Woman At The Well,' a Southern Spiritual, is an American art form.
Leaning on the Everlasting Arm
Review: The "Better Than That" collection follows the CD compilation of the two "Best of the Pilgrim Travelers" and the first release by the PT in the Legends of Gospel series, "Walking Rhythm;" and it focuses the early to mid-Fifties heyday of this talented all-male quintet. At that time, they were a top draw on the Gospel circuit, booked all over the country. Art Rupe of Specialty Records issued more PT singles over their 10-year relationship than any other group, gospel or pop. "Better" is a generous, comprehensive CD of 28 cuts, including 13 never-before-released cuts. Beginning with their a cappella roots, the group gradually became more accompanied, by organ, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone and drums. Our favorites, of course, are the a cappella numbers: "Please Watch Over Me," "Long Ago (Wooden Church)," "I Never Knew Joy Before," "Leaning On The Everlasting Arm," "I'm Going Through," "How About You?," "I'll Be There (In That Number)," "All The Way (I'm Willing To Run)" and "Your Mother Is Your Friend." This is a great collection by one of the most popular Gospel groups of all time, in their prime!
Call Him By His Name
Review: Founded in the early 1930s in Houston during the early 1930s by Joe Johnson and the Davis brothers, the Pilgrims had moved to Los Angeles by 1942, adding two cousins, Kylo Turner and Keith Barber. Between 1947 and 1956, they recorded over a hundred sides for Specialty Records and developed a choreographed, dynamic road show that blew away the competition. There are 29 a cappella spirituals here, from "What Are They Doing (My Lord)," "Good News," the Gospel Boogie "Everybody's Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There" and "Nothing Can Change Me (Since I Found The Lord)" to "My Eternal Home," "Footprints of Jesus," "Welcome Home" and "Angels Tell Mother." It's all wonderful, feel good Gospel, some of the best and most authentic we've heard. At the end is a touching plug for Gospel radio station WDIA. "Walking" is a joy! Highly Recommended.