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Freedom: The Golden Gate Quartet and Josh White

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Album Review

In 1940, the Golden Gate Quartet and Josh White performed a historical concert at the Library of Congress celebrating the 75th anniversary of the 13th amendment, but it wasn't just any regular concert: alongside Sterling A. Brown and Alan Lomax, Alain Locke spoke of the history behind the songs, all of which is contained here. The historical significance of Freedom is huge; it is an aural document of efforts (much written about) to reach out, communicate, and educate across racial boundaries via entertainment — arguably the most successful route to blur the lines. It's a remarkable document and a wonderful performance by both the Golden Gate Quartet and Josh White. Interestingly, Freedom was recorded the same year Congress passed the Alien Registration Act, the law which directly led to the McCarthyism which devoured White's successful career in 1950 because of his involvement with Paul Robeson in similar engagements such as this.


Formed: 1931 in Berkeley, VA

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Pioneer Virginia gospel/pop quartet of the '30s and '40s. Calling their innovative approach to sacred hymns "jubilee" singing, the Golden Gate Quartet, propelled by Willie Johnson and William Langford, enjoyed massive acceptance far outside the church. Their smooth Mills Brothers-influenced harmonies made the Gates naturals for pop crossover success, and they began recording for Victor in 1937. National radio broadcasts and an appearance on John Hammond's 1938 "Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie...
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Freedom: The Golden Gate Quartet and Josh White, Golden Gate Quartet
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