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Wade In The Water Ep. 24: The Story Of The California Gospel Movement

Bessie Griffin at the Monterey Jazz Festival in the early 1970s.
Bessie Griffin at the Monterey Jazz Festival in the early 1970s.

Wade in the Water is a 26-part series, originally released in 1994, that celebrates African American sacred music and traditions. To learn more about the series,click here. For more episodesclick hereor listen on the go with theNPR Oneapp.


The migration and effects of geographical considerations on the sound, as African Americans moved west to Texas, Louisiana and California.

Song List

  • Bessie Griffin, "Wade in the Water"
  • St. Paul Baptist Church Choir, "I'm So Glad"
  • Andrews Gospel Singers, "I Won't Turn Back"
  • Rickey Grundy and the Rickey Grundy Chorale, "Happier with Jesus"
  • Paramount Singers, "Give Yourself to Jesus"
  • Mahalia Jackson, "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About"
  • Rev. Eugene Smallwood, "Little Wooden Church on a Hill"
  • St. Paul Baptist Church Choir, "Yield Not to Temptation"
  • St. Paul Baptist Church Choir, "God Be with You"
  • Paramount Singers, "There's a Leak in This Old Building"
  • Pilgrim Travelers, "Mother Bowed"
  • Andrews Gospel Singers, "Does Jesus Care"
  • Bessie Griffin, "Are You Sure"
  • Mighty Clouds of Joy, "It Ain't No Use"
  • Voices of Hope, "We've Come This Far by Faith"
  • James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir, "I'll Do His Will"
  • Edwin Hawkins Singers, "Oh Happy Day"
  • Donald Vails Choraleers, "He Decided to Die"
  • Wade in the Water was produced by Judi Moore Latta and Sonja Williams.


    Stream A Selection Of Songs From The Series

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.