Sunday, April 25, 2010
Someone could offer me a million dollars to forget this voice and I still couldn’t do it.
The Soul Stirrers featuring R.H. Harris
“Walk Around” (1939)
“Lord I’ve Tried” (1946)
“I Want To Rest” (1946)
“I’m Willing To Run” (1947)
“He [R.H. Harris] was The Man – the guy everyone tried to sound like,” says gospel historian Anthony Heilbut. “If you’ve been to a black church or listened to R&B music, you’ve heard the influence of R.H. Harris.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made the Soul Stirrers its first gospel inductees in 1989.
Musically, Harris and the Soul Stirrers helped shape gospel’s transition from the old “jubilee” a cappella style into the “quartet” style, with a more distinct lead voice and musical parts.
Harris sang in a striking high voice Heilbut calls “a combination of gospel moans, cowboy yodels and a clear Irish tenor.”
Harris helped found the Soul Stirrers in Texas in the 1930s. When he left in 1950, Cooke took over as lead singer and always called Harris his major stylistic influence. He then passed the style to the likes of Al Green.—David Hinckley, New York Daily News, September 6, 2000 (obituary)