"Let cheerful anthems fill this house." So goes the opening of Edwin Hawkins' gospel standard "Oh Happy Day" as sung by The Sisters of Glory (Thelma Houston, Cece Peniston, Phoebe Snow, Lois Walden, Albertina Walker) on Good News in Hard Times. This is a particularly fine collection of gospel tunes, including a heartfelt version of the traditional "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," rhythmic vocal dialogues on the contemporary "How I Got Over," and a great percussion accompaniment for "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands".

Almost any recording in the gospel music genre is a good example of enthusiasm. It is testimony music, expressing what it fills like to be filled with God. And, although there are many single gospel singers, the most enthusiastic performances usually are by groups and choirs. For wonderful samples of the latter, listen to the Smithsonian Folkways recordings African American Spirituals: The Concert Tradition (Volume 1) and African American Congregational Singing: Nineteenth-Century Roots (Volume 2).

More Music about Enthusiasm