Kell Street Camp Meeting: Dinner and Joy on the Ground

Paula Records LPS 2211 (1972)

“Revival” recordings (audio and video) are common in Christian music.  For Southern Gospel, the best known ones are the “Gaither Homecoming” series, which they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s.  Their idea was to get many of the famous Southern Gospel artists–who were passing away–to perform their music, which made a tremendous impact on American Evangelical Christianity.

You’d think that the urge to do this wasn’t too strong in the 1970’s, when albums such as this were being produced.  The “Jesus Music” featured on this site was little threat to “traditional” Southern Christian music.  Evidently, however, some thought so, and this album was a response to that, although the motivation behind it is not the same as, say, the Gaithers.

This album is a “revival” album in every sense of the word.  The songs are framed in a small Texas town revival, right from building the brush arbor (depicted on the cover) to the altar call and revival closing songs.  In between are some classic hymns.  If they wanted to replicate the uneven, nasal vocals of small Southern congregations, they completely succeeded.  OTOH, although the narration wants to invoke memories of a rural revival, one thing that the “brush arbor”  would need is a good-sized generator: the instrumentation is electric and the drums are prominent, which would have elicited a “tsk tsk” from many Southern evangelicals, rural and urban.

But I suspect that there were other “tsk tsk” moments with this group.  Revival albums are done for two reasons: to keep a style of music and worship so that it stays alive in the church, and to “document” an era that has passed away, both musically and doctrinally.  I get the impression that this is the latter; in fact, the way they do some things both spoken and sung, it borders on satire.  At the end of the album, the narrator laments that his children will never see revival such as this, but that’s more due to this problem than the music having gone out of fashion, or he having moved to town (which Texans did by the droves after World War II.)

The closest thing already on site to this is Glide Memorial’s Bobby Kent, which I prefer because it’s more towards Black Gospel than Southern Gospel.  But if you’re looking for something more on the Scots-Irish side, the Kell Street Campmeeting (that’s the way we’d spell it in the Church of God) should “suit your fancy.”

The songs:

  1. Revive Us Again
  2. Kneel At The Cross
  3. The Great Speckled Bird
  4. Farther Along
  5. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  6. I Shall Not Be Moved
  7. If We Never Meet Again
  8. Precious Memories
  9. Oh! Why Not Tonight
  10. God Be With You

DL

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