Thomas A. Dorsey - Short History
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Uploaded on Nov 18, 2008
Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993, composer of such standards as "There Will Be Peace in the Valley"), is considered by many gospel devotees to be the "Father of Gospel Music." The son of a minister, Dorsey was a consummate musician and as a young man accompanied some of the most famous blues singers of all time-specifically, Bessie Smith (1894-1937) and Ma Rainey (1886-1939). He also arranged and composed blues tunes.
His penchant for bouncy tunes and bawdy lyrics did not keep him from attending the annual meetings of the National Baptist Convention, though. and it was at one of these meetings in Philadelphia that Dorsey first heard the compositions of Charles A. Tindley (1851-1933, composer of "We'll Understand It Better By and By" and "Leave It There" among others).
In his essay, "Rock, Church, Rock," Arna Bontemps says that it was then that Dorsey began to write religious music, abandoning his brash lyrics but not the jazz rhythms and blues flavor and rhythmic style so akin to Tindley's own.
Naturally, the "old guard" conservatives considered this blending of the sacred (spirituals and hymns) and the secular (blues and jazz) as "the devil's music" and shunned it. By its actions, the church declared Dorsey's brand of gospel music unworthy of a hearing within the sanctuaries of the day, a story quite similarly echoed by churches responding to the rock 'n' roll Jesus Movement that swept the country in the early '70s. In both instances, the traditional church failed to see the positive influence contemporary music could have, blessing its listeners and encouraging them to draw near God. It is this intense spiritual quality in gospel music that lifts it up beyond its mere form, a quality that most preachers in Dorsey's day failed to understand.
A 1994 Score magazine article titled "The Father of Gospel Music" quoted Dorsey as saying, "When I realized how hard some folks were fighting the gospel idea, I was determined to carry the banner."
Carry it he did. "I borrowed five dollars and sent out 500 copies of my song, 'If You See My Savior,' to churches throughout the country.... It was three years before I got a single order. I felt like going back to the blues."
He didn't. With pioneer singers such as Sallie Martin (1896-1988) and Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith (1904-94) propagating his music, he stayed the course long enough to write over 800 songs and hear his music ascend from the first row pews to the choir stand, where it previously had been banned.
Other composers, such as Lucy Campbell ("Something Within") and Dr. Herbert Brewster ("Surely God is Able"), picked up the torch and the way was lit for another generation to take control. To insure this, Dorsey founded The National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in 1932, an organization still in existence today. Dorsey was a planter. The fruits of that harvest were the exceptional singers who spread gospel around the country and indeed the world in the years that followed--Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward and James Cleveland are but a few.
Standard YouTube License
- 50 videos Play all YouTube Mix
- 7:35 Thomas A Dorsey: Precious Lordby PurpleSnowman29Featured 156,955
- 15:01 Say Amen Somebody"pt.2/2!"by TheBLSsingers 7,999 views
- 8:01 Thomas Dorseyby Kim Johnson 110,003 views
- 2:01 THOMAS DORSEY AND SALLY MARTINby ahlordgod's channel 27,444 views
- 4:24 Thomas Dorsey - Precious Lordby Kim Johnson 239,376 views
- 53 videos Play all Black Gospelby brotherjon100
- 2:26 Brother Joe May & Jackie Verdell-You're Gonna Need Himby BerniceJenkins2010 12,628 views
- 6:30 Thomas Dorsey: Father of Gospel Musicby AGiffordProductions 3,485 views
- 7:35 *Audio* Precious Lord: Dr. Thomas A. Dorseyby damonemontez 20,174 views
- 2:38 James Cleveland - Short Gospel History (1)by ArtistIncorporated 18,706 views
- 1:19:41 Thomas Dorsey at 2010 VA State 9-Ballby Billiards and Pool Videos 2,167 views
- 3:33 Yes Jesus Loves Meby Kim Johnson 53,363 views
- 7:01 Willie May Ford Smithby Kim Johnson 122,759 views
- 2:19 Mahalia Jackson Precious Lord, Take My Handby joker2-1 99,822 views
- 2:54 Thomas Dorsey- If You See My Saviorby girlto98 30,500 views
- 2:11 The Winans -Short Gospel Historyby ArtistIncorporated 25,026 views
- 4:29 *Audio* Sallie Martin: God Put A Rainbow In The Skyby damonemontez 27,935 views
- 12:49 Say Amen Somebody"pt.1/2!"by TheBLSsingers 6,331 views
- 2:06 Rev. Al Green - Precious Lordby apostolicreturns 214,615 views
- 6:15 James Cleveland - Peace Be Stillby holyrollersoldier 631,938 views
- 5:04 MAHALIA JACKSON PRECIOUS LORD TAKE MY HANDby thejazzsingers's channel 1,211,178 views
- Loading more suggestions...