cover of book

Happy In Service Of Lord: African-American Sacred Vocal Harmony
by Kip Lornell
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
Paper: 978-0-87049-877-0
Library of Congress Classification ML3187.L67 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 782.254089960731

"Happy in the Service of the Lord" provides an in-depth look at the development of the African-American gospel quartet. Focusing argely on Memphis - long famous for its blues, jazz, and soul music - Kip Lornell reveals the special contributions that quartet members have made to the cultural and musical identity of the city.
The author traces the evolution of such groups as the I. C. Glee Club Quartet, the Spirit of Memphis, the Sunset Travelers, and the Southern Wonders from the early 1920s to the late 1980s. Drawing on extensive interviews and field research, Lornell describes a unique world of radio personalities, quartet unions, fans, promoters, and singing teachers. What emerges is a fascinating picture of the complex, multilayered relationships within these communities, enhanced by a probing analysis of the gospel quartets' place within the larger contexts of popular culture and African-American history.
"Happy in the Service of the Lord" was first published in 1988. For this second edition, Lornell has added a new chapter on the role of gospel composers and the importance of spirituality in quartet performances. The first chapter, a survey of the history of quartet singing across the United States from Reconstruction to the present, has been completely rewritten to reflect the most recent scholarship. Lornell has also updated and expanded the book's audiography and bibliography.

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