I'm Glad About It: The Legacy of Gospel Music in Louisville

Box set featuring 83 lovingly restored recordings & a 208-page book documenting Louisville rich Black gospel music legacy + a double LP & digital archive. 

Release date: September 28. 

Pre-order now and get a 20% discount!

Get tickets to box set release concert at the Brown Theatre on September 28.

“An extraordinary collection – a lavishly and lovingly compiled and annotated collection of songs, photographs and commentary documenting one of America's great hotbeds of gospel music. It is that rare project that elevates while it entertains ... even as it celebrates and reveals the startling depth and impact of Louisville's deep gospel tradition. And oh! those songs …”

—Robert F. Darden, Emeritus Professor of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media at Baylor University, founder of the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program, and the author of two dozen books, including Soon & Very Soon: The Transformative Music and Ministry of Andrae Crouch

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The box set
LOUISVILLE STORY PROGRAM · The Junior Dynamics, "God Is Using Me"

"With I’m Glad About It, the Louisville Story Program team has not only made an invaluable contribution to gospel music history, but they have done it with perfection, giving the men and women who created this marvelous music their well-deserved props. Every American city that can claim a rich gospel music heritage needs to take heed of this remarkable collection and follow suit.”

—Robert M. Marovich, two-time GRAMMY nominee and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gospel Music

LOUISVILLE STORY PROGRAM · The Religious Five, "Running For A Long Time"

"Like all of the Louisville Story Program's work, I'm Glad About It is a vital portrait of a community presented through the eyes, ears, and mouths of its members—in this case the singers, players, producers, and facilitators of the city's fantastically rich Black gospel tradition. Its impact and import, though, should be felt far beyond Louisville. This is community archiving at its absolute best, from methodology to music."

—Nathan Salsburg, Curator, Lomax Digital Archive

LOUISVILLE STORY PROGRAM · Cable Baptist Church Mass Choir, "Lord Help Me To Hold Out"

“The Louisville Story Program has produced an inspiring, beautiful portrait of our region’s Gospel legacy with the publication of I’m Glad About It. The combination of storytelling, photography, and musical curation is exceptional and vital. Louisville’s Black Gospel traditions are celebrated the way they should be, reinforcing their immense impact on American culture, inviting people to learn about this remarkable history, and securing this critical legacy for future generations. Once again, the Louisville Story Program demonstrates the depth of its vision and mission with this special collection of history and music.”

—Teddy Abrams, Music Director, Louisville Orchestra

LOUISVILLE STORY PROGRAM · Rev Eddie James And Family, "Jesus Will Fix It"

In the mid-20th century, Louisville gospel music was occasionally recorded when members of the local gospel community pressed 45rpm records and LPs, and released them through grassroots record labels such as Sensational Sounds, Grace, Blessed, and D.J.S. Over the years, a substantial body of work was produced in our city, but those recordings are in danger of being lost forever.

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The Louisville Story Program has been working with dozens of people in the local gospel music community to locate, digitize, and preserve hundreds of these recordings and to develop a book that documents and honors the legacies of the people and communities that produced them.

For decades, the passion, hard work, and support of countless people across dozens of Black church communities in Louisville have nurtured and sustained a rich gospel music ecosystem. This music has served as a central part of people's religious practice and as an expression of Black pride, joy, affirmation, love, dignity, determination, and hope. This legacy continues to this day. 

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With support from The Owsley Brown II Family Foundation and Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation, LSP has partnered with members of the gospel community and a local advisory group of local gospel historians and luminaries:

  • To locate, clean, and digitize gospel records of local artists released by small local labels
  • To accompany the local Black gospel music community in developing a 4 CD box set that includes a 200+ page hardcover book with first-person documentation of their rich history
  • To create an accompanying double LP featuring 26 of those songs
  • To create and maintain a public-facing digital archive of 1,000 songs and 1,000 photographs
  • To celebrate the final release with a large concert at the Brown Theatre (September 28, 2024)

Authors and project partners include:

  • Wilma Clayborn, who ran Grace Records, a prolific gospel record label and record store, for many years
  • Rev. Charles E. Kirby, founder and longtime pastor of Southern Star Missionary Baptist Church, former president of the Kentucky branch of SCLC, and renowned singer
  • Bishop Melvin Cuff, pastor of Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, who toured the national gospel music circuit for 25 years
  • Lamont Butler, who along with his father Cliff Butler ran the House of Truth and Blessed Records
  • Argie Dale, general manager of WLOU and legendary gospel musician and label owner
  • Bessie Leavell Palmer, member of the Gospel Descendents and longtime president of the Louisville Gospel Choral Union
  • Frances Pimpleton, manager of the Pimpleton Singers and former member of the Golden Echoes
  • Raoul Cunningham, former director of Green Street Baptist Church Youth Choir and current President of the Louisville Branch of the NAACP
  • Rev. Della Porter, member of the nationally-touring Traveling Notes and the Gospel Chanteurs and former pastor of First Congregational Methodist Church
  • Bishop Dennis Lyons, acclaimed gospel organist and pianist and pastor of Gospel Missionary Church
  • Linda Sharpe, co-manager of the Religious Five and daughter of C.W. Sharpe, a major figure in the Louisville gospel quartet community from the 1940s through the 1980s
  • Kelvin Thomas, son of Joe Thomas, legendary organist and pianist and proprietor of B-J Sounds studio and the Sensational Sounds, B-J Sounds, and Des Moines record labels
  • Rev. Nathaniel "Peewee" Brown, manager of the New Golden Crowns and musician on countless recordings made in Louisville studios
  • Ben Jones, owner of Better Days Records and former drummer at Cable Street Baptist Church
  • Mary "Joy" Ellis and Mary Thomas, former and current members of the Riverview Spiritual Singers
  • Rev. Andre James, former member of Rev. Eddie James and Family and current member of the New Golden Crowns
  • Lucy James of the James Singers
  • Joetta Perkins, former director of the University of Louisville Black Diamond Choir
  • Willie "Tee" Glover, member of the Tones of Joy and former proprietor of Mr. Tee's Record Shop
  • Rev. LeRoy Elliott, member of the Junior Dynamics
  • ...and many others!

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