Shreveport historian Chris Brown.

Think of the gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: have you ever found yourself reluctant to leave the tent because the music and voices are world class and as entertaining as anything at the fest?

White gospel is good. But, for me, black gospel is the crunchiest of the gospel birds.

In a recent collection of historic gospel cuts assembled by historian Chris Brown, “The Gospel According to Shreveport, 1931 – 2000,” a majority of the tracks are from black churches. While there are compelling tunes from Jimmie Davis and one written by Hank Williams (“Dear Brother,” 1948), the sound of something like the Five Echo’s of Harmony of Shreveport “Fix me, Jesus” bowls me over (Find a sample of the track at the end of this article).

“The eleventh annual all-Shreveport playlist on my weekly radio show, Romp and Stomp, is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” says Brown. The one-hour program will broadcast from Centenary College Radio KSCL 91.3FM and will also be streamed online.

“There are selections by Leadbelly, the Bailes Brothers, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, the Mighty Ambassadors, the Sensational Jones Singers, Artee L. Philyaw, and more!”

Brown is an inveterate flea market researcher (he takes a battery-powered record player on shopping trips) and academic inquirer who holds a post as an archivist at Centenary College. He has made a collection of gospel songs recorded in Shreveport and of gospel songs on Shreveport record labels.

Check out his music blog at