CD Reviews

Music on the Web (UK)

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet

Rock My Soul

LIVING ERA CD AJA 5650 [77:16]



Golden Gate Gospel Train
Gabriel Blows His Horn
The Preacher and the Bear (That Ol' Time Religion)
Go Where I Send Thee
The Story of Job
Stand in the Test in Judgement
Travellin' Shoes
Take Your Burdens to God
To the Rock
When They Ring Them Golden Bells
My Lord Is Writing All the Time
Rock My Soul
Saints Go Marching Home
Ol' Man Mose
I Looked Down the Road and I Wondered
I'm a Pilgrim
Every Time I Feel the Spirit
My Walking Stick
Pick a Bale of Cotton +
He Never Said a Mumblin' World (The Crucifixion)
The Sun Didn't Shine on Calvary's Mountain
God's Gonna Cut 'Em Down
Swing Down, Chariot
No Restricted Signs Up in Heaven
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego
Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho
Atom and Evil
Golden Gate Quartet with Leadbelly +
rec. 1937-46


This handy single disc houses nearly a decade’s worth of recordings by one of the most versatile of the Gospel groups active in the 1930s and 1940s. The Golden Gate Quartet – originally The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet on its foundation – outlasted pretty much all competition and after varying personnel changes was still active recently.

They were strongly influenced by the secular Mills Brothers and evidence for it is liberally to be heard throughout. The Gospel songs were galvanized by instrumental imitation and by a percussive dynamism that derived from the virtuosic bass sections of swing and big bands. The vocal imitations conform closely to the kind of thing Red McKenzie was doing as well – a kind of kazoo vibrancy that stands now on the precipice of vogue-ish commonplace. At the time of course it spelt novelty.

The classic quartet of two tenors, baritone and bass remained consistent. It made a powerful and big sound, though one capable of illuminating flexibility. When They Ring Them Golden Bells for instance is shot through with a solo that evokes the baritone saxophone; its recording date of 1938 indicates the nature of the jazz context for these moments of virtuoso panache, ones it has to be noted that are affiliated with great skill and logic to the strictly vocal lines. The enthusiastic falsetto in Saints Go Marching Home points to more popular influences on the group. Their own influence on successive generations of popular musicians can be glimpsed from Noah in which the seeds of Jail House Rock are startlingly audible. In fact it’s known that Presley went to hear them when he was stationed in the American army in Germany.

Hats are doffed to the co-composer of Ol’ Man Mose, Louis Armstrong, in subtle vocal emulation. Leadbelly joins the quartet for Pick a Bale of Cotton broadening their range to include work song. Later on in this run of sides we even hear guitar, piano and percussion accompaniment. One of their most well remembered titles, the protest song No Restricted Signs Up in Heaven is, for all its content, still couched in the popular vernacular.

Well transferred and cogently annotated this is a useful single disc collection of a much-revered group.

Jonathan Woolf


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: