Can you recall a time when gospel music was simple? Following on from the transAtlantic spiritual revivals of the mid 1800s and early 1900s, congregations of people gathered together to worship in small wooden-floored halls all across Scotland, Ulster and America. Their music was sung from well-worn hymn books with soft yellowed pages. Everyone, young and old, knew the words and sang with passion. Their hymns were simple, scriptural and tuneful, accompanied by the old pump organ. Sometimes a local singer or group would bring a message in song - with instinctive untaught harmonies and a guitar.
Some of the earliest recorded gospel music in the world was performed by “brother duets” during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Many of them stepped out of their rural evangelical lives and into recording studios with just a guitar, a mandolin and their voices - making records that are still available today, and that take you back in time like nothing else can do. No fancy equipment, no overdubs or mixing, no reverb or showy effects. Just voices, instruments and sincerity.
Now we’re doing our best to do something similar, but simpler - the “brother duet” tradition. We’re very aware of how limited our musical ability is and we have no big ambitions or rock star fantasies! What we do is simple, stripped-back and hopefully enjoyable.
- Mark Thompson
- Local Groups
- Thompson Brothers