Jubilee Male Quartet

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Gospel fans instinctively turn to the Good Lord to set everything straight, yet savvy discographers might want to lend a hand when it comes to this group. A small batch of recordings credited to the Jubilee…
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Gospel fans instinctively turn to the Good Lord to set everything straight, yet savvy discographers might want to lend a hand when it comes to this group. A small batch of recordings credited to the Jubilee Male Quartet circulated far and wide during the '40s and '50s, part of a packet of masters first put up for sale by the Record Syndicate Trust of Scranton, later handled by New York City's Producers Recording Co., Inc. This catalog can basically be described as historic American music of all genres imaginable, some of the sides dating back to Paramount scouting trips around the country in the '20s.

In the case of the gospel vocal group under discussion, the purchasing producer decided to release the material under the name of the Jubilee Male Quartet even though no such group existed. Tracks such as "I'm Leaning on the Lord," "You're Goin' to Need That Pure Religion," and "Clang-A-Lang" caused a stir with the gospel audience. It seemed like a new group had come along combining the finest qualities of the Norfolk Jubilee Quartet and the Famous Blue Jay Singers, both established and innovative vocal groups.

The Jubilee Male Quartet seemed able to sound like either group with the flick of a switch. The explanation turned out to be that these were actually performances by the aforementioned hit groups. The Famous Blue Jay Singers' original title of "Clanka-A-Lanka" was altered to "Clang-A-Lang," but otherwise the tracks were simply released with the bogus band name on the label. Standing behind this ruse was none other than Joe Davis, whose efforts at production, A&R, and publishing included starting the career of the great Fats Waller as well as the sort of misleading shenanigans described here. All of the songs mentioned have been reissued at least half a dozen times each on various classic gospel compilations, but in these cases producers credited the right groups.