Kings of the Gospel Highway presents selections from the top male a cappella groups of the 1940s and '50s, including the Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. Songs range from light and upbeat numbers such as "Does Jesus Care" by R.H. Harris and the Soul Stirrers, to hand-clappers like the jubilee rendition of "Lord Hold My Hand" by the Pilgrim Travelers and Julius Cheeks and the Sensational Nightingales' take on "Lord Have Mercy." The compilation also includes slow and moving numbers, like "The Old Account" by the Swan Silvertones and hard-singing, spirited pieces such as the Silvertones' version of "All Aboard" and Archie Brownlee with the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi singing "I Was Praying." Other highlights include "Jesus Brought Me" by the Spirit of Memphis, with an anointed, hoarse-throated Silas Steele at the front, and the earliest recording on this collection, the Soul Stirrers' 1939 recording of "Walk Around," which has crackly sound quality but rousing spirit, with Harris sounding his best. Besides this one early recording, the rest of the Stirrers' songs come from the mid- to late '40s, while the Sensational Nightingales' tunes span the 1950s. The other groups' selections are drawn from the late '40s through the early '50s.
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne