Just because the Zion
Harmonizers are one of New Orleans’ oldest and most respected
gospel groups, don’t be deceived into thinking they are in any
way “old-timey” or a relic of the past. Founded in 1939 as a
group of teenagers in Zion City -- a small, out-of-the-way
neighborhood in New Orleans -- the group spent much of the 1940s
opening for their sister group, The Southern Harps, whose
reputation was then at its height.
During the 1950s, the
Zion Harmonizers broke out on their own with radio appearances
and a series of commercial recordings, establishing a reputation
further enhanced by regular appearances at the New Orleans Jazz
& Heritage Festival and a series of international bookings.
Over the years, the
group has never swayed from its intention to make all forms of
gospel music a part of the variety it presents. Take “Everyday
Will Be Sunday,” for example, which opens with keyboards that
echo The Neville Brothers’ “Hey Pocky Way,” while the very next
track, “Down by the Riverside,” is purely a classic spiritual.
In fact, says cultural
historian Lynn Abbott, “the Zion Harmonizers shine brightest on
their irresistible a cappella, close-harmony arrangements of
old-time slave spirituals,” represented here by “Ezekial,”
“Steal Away,” and “Old Noah.” But they can also rock your soul
with doo-wop crooning (check out “Thank You, Lord” or “I Can
Call on the Lord”), shake the rafters with “I’ve Got the Spirit”
gospel shouts (“He’ll Be There,” “We Need Jesus”), and even
throw in a touch of hard rock (“Live for Jesus”).
The Zion Harmonizers
can do it all, and in every case, these expert ambassadors of
the Lord’s message are guaranteed to rock your soul.