S'up, Jesus?

Put on Travelin' Shoes and journey to a place where gospel meets rap

From left: Juan B. Fernandez, Robert L. Rouse Jr., Victor Dewberry, Kevin Haliburton, and Aubrey S. Stephenson cut snazzy musical figures in Jubilee Theatre's expert ode to turn-of-the-century gospel quartets.
From left: Juan B. Fernandez, Robert L. Rouse Jr., Victor Dewberry, Kevin Haliburton, and Aubrey S. Stephenson cut snazzy musical figures in Jubilee Theatre's expert ode to turn-of-the-century gospel quartets.

And, of course, there are expert deliveries of more recognizable black gospel fare such as "I Heard Zion Moan" and "Take Your Burdens to God" that an atheist with a heart and eyes clear enough to identify the universal human need for transcendence wouldn't be able to resist. Fronted by the absolutely indispensable comic, dramatic, and musical skills of Haliburton and Rouse, and aided and abetted by their three conspirators in song, Travelin' Shoes is about as perfect a demonstration of the human voice's potential as you could hope to find. In the end, I don't know how well it worked as a history lesson, because I never had to cast my mind back and try to imagine the era in which these tunes originated. Maybe that's the problem some younger audiences will run into -- assuming that these songs belong to other people from another time and place. But I don't know that the reasons for singing them will ever go away.

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