SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments – Echoes of Awakening

The Awakening Echoes were part of a long list of innovative gospel artists who recorded for Houston’s Peacock label.

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We’ve talked a lot about Don Robey’s eclectic Peacock label in Houston. During the 1960s he could not match the roster and marketing influence of industry giant Savoy, so Robey and his team focused on creating innovative, sometimes offbeat gospel artists. Robey has long claimed that he was the one who introduced the bass guitar and drums to gospel music.

The Awakening Echoes – and I love that name! – were one of Peacock’s many forays into modern gospel. They released a handful of 45s for the label in the mid-1960s, but none of them ever really caught on…maybe they were a bit ahead of their time.

A good example of this is 1963’s “Heavenly Vision.” Quirky and dramatic, the Echoes work hard to incorporate ’60s jazz motifs and solos into the basic framework of a gospel song. It’s fun and unpredictable and very clearly something that was NOT going to appeal to traditionalists and gospel music purists!

MUSIC: “Heavenly Vision”, 45 years old, Awakening Echoes

I am Robert Darden… “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by the generous support of the Prichard Foundation.

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