In the early days of gospel music there were two ways of singing. The first style came out of the post-Civil War black universities where groups harmonized on spirituals that were old even then, rolling their R's and clicking their enunciation. The other style was less formal, largely congregational, growing out of the new sanctified congregations inspired by the Azuza Street Revival, singing newly written songs from 1920s songbooks like Gospel Pearls. When RH Harris joined the Soul Stirrers gospel quartet in 1938 he fused the two styles effectively creating soul singing and influencing everyone within earshot.
Five years after Harris' death his influence is everywhere, but the greatest of his records are not. Short of spending the next 25 years collecting 78s, there is simply no way to hear Harris' greatest records of the 1940s, not in decent sound anyway.
Today's episode of Down in the Flood is dedicated to the greatest singer you've never heard in your life, the man who basically invented soul singing, the great Rebert H. Harris.