Hmm, soul into gospel, gospel into soul alright. But there are some curious examples of turning pop- or folk-country into gospel as well. (And I'm speaking here of black gospel, obviously.) You probably have heard of the East St. Louis Gospelettes and her energetic lead singer Frances Moore (she's gifted with a voice that recalls the timbre and the power of Mavis Staples's). In about 1977 (I am not sure about the exact date), the group released a single on Birthright (# BR-45-601), »Have A Talk With God« w/ »Glory Road«. The first is of course Stevie Wonder's tune, and the second is ... wait a moment.
The East St. Louis Gospelettes did some tough, funky gospel music, and many a soulful tune. There'll be more of them on this blog, God willing. But sometimes, the Gospelettes switched genre, as on the B-side of Birthright # 601. (Birthright, based in Los Angeles, was one of the oldest black-owned gospel music labels; their '70s business is well-covered in Billboard, see e.g. the article in the Oct. 16, 1976, issue page 47). If you listen to the B-side below, it takes only a few seconds to immedia- tely recognize the tune. Funny thing is that on the label of the 45, lead singer Frances Moore is credited with both the lyrics and the music! Well, it took some courage to do so, at least for the musical part; the lyrics are, of course, hers (mostly) and not those of the original. Listen here:
The East St. Louis Gospelettes: »Glory Road« on Birthright # 601B (1977, I believe):
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