#857 (2/13/16 - 2/26/16)

SPOTLIGHT ON SPIRITUAL

"Rock-A-Ma-Soul"/"Lonesome Road"
Paul Breckenridge And The Four Heavenly Knights
on King 4182-A/B
released in 1947

"I Shall Not Be Moved"
Paul Breckenridge And His Four Heavenly Knights
on King 4192-A
released in 1947


[The above picture courtesy of Richard Koloda.]

Paul Breckenridge, nick-named the "Harlem Hurricane," was actually from Cleveland. A member of the Gethsemane Baptist Church, he was the youngest of seven brothers. Paul graduated from East Technical High School in Cleveland and soon after joined the Wings Over Jordan. In 1942, at the age of 21, he was one of the stars of the ensemble, his "clear falsetto tones holding the audience spellbound."

In 1946, Lucky Millinder "discovered" Paul as a "new singing sensation," becoming one of Lucky's featured singers on stage and records. In 1948, Paul, along with Lucky, starred in the full-length movie "Boarding House Blues." At the same time, they had a regular Wednesday night radio show, "Swingtime At The Savoy," on the NBC coast-to-coast network. And were also appearing at the Apollo Theatre and the "famed" 845 Club, both in New York City.

Paul's first popular recording (with Lucky) is "You Can't Put Out The Fire." While still with Lucky, Paul had four records released on King backed by the Four Heavenly Knights. Three of these records (four sides) are featured on this webpage.

In early 1949, Paul dissolved his contract with Lucky, just after "Journey's End" was released on RCA Victor (included in the Extra Audio section below). He returned to the Church and "his chosen calling, religious singing," much in the manner that Sister Rosetta Tharpe had left Lucky earlier. In early 1949, Paul began his renewed undertaking with a series of religious concerts in the South and Southwest.

Then, in 1951, Paul came back to the popular singing world. The 11/3/51 Pittsburgh Courier states that "Paul Breckenridge is getting set for a recording session while drawing rave reviews for his vocalizing at the Majestic Rose Room, where he is featured with Duke Jenkins' band..."

A July 7, 1959 clipping in the Ottawa Journal shows "Paul Breckenridge, Recording Star," appearing nightly at the Cameo Lounge And Rainbow Room, at the Standishall. And, in 1968, we find "Paul Breckenridge, The Man With The Golden Voice" at the Metropole in Montreal.




(The Billboard 11/1/47) (Link: Bull Moose Jackson)


Above: Pittsburgh Courier dated 3/26/49—Paul Breckenridge and a portion of the Kingdom Choir.... will be on the Carnegie Hall stage on April 9 (1949).


(Lucky Millinder 1949)

(New York Age 11/12/49)


(New York Age 9/4/48)

(Pittsburgh Courier 3/26/49)



(KingsportNews-Tennessee 11/4/43)

(Montreal Gazette 7/14/66-At Stanley Street's Chez Paree)

EXTRA AUDIO (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

This is the fourth of four spiritual records by Paul Breckenridge on the King label. Seven of the eight sides are traditional spiritual songs. Note that the label shows arrangement by Lucky Millinder. Lucky also arranged another of the sides and co-composed the non-traditional one, "Merry Christmas (To You)," with Henry Glover.

Listen to "Staff In My Hand" - Paul Breckenridge And The Four Heavenly Knights - King 4258-A - 1948.

The vocal group comes in at about forty-three seconds in.

Listen to "Journey's End" - Paul Breckenridge And Choir (Lucky Millinder’s Orchestra) – RCA Victor 20-3622-A – 1949.




Above: Label image of King 4182-A released in 1947. Paul exhibits his high tenor skills!

The Billboard Review (12/13/47):

PAUL BRECKENRIDGE (FOUR HEAVENLY KNIGHTS) - KING 4182....
Rock-A-Ma-Soul
(66) This rhythmic spiritual moves at a satisfactory pace.
Lonesome Road (76) Good treatment with Breckenridge in fine voice.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 40-69 was considered "satisfactory" and 70-79 was "good.")


Above: Label image of King 4192-A released in 1947. This song picks up its tempo about fifty seconds in. Again, Paul shows off his high tenor gymnastics!

Pittsburgh Courier, April 5, 1947: Lucky Says Breckenridge Greatest of New Singers, NEW YORK—Lucky Millinder, the dynamaestro of swing, is around the Broadway music marts challenging the entire industry to match his latest singing find, Paul Breckenridge. Believe it or not, the challenge finds no takers because the acrobatic batoneer has him an unmatched record of bell ringing discoveries.

Pittsburgh Courier (Stage Review): ....Paul Breckenridge, a tenor find now singing with Lucky Millinder's Orchestra, sang "Lonesome Road" in an interesting high register tenor that caught the favor of the audience....

The Billboard Review (4/24/48):

PAUL BRECKENRIDGE AND HIS FOUR HEAVENLY KNIGHTS - KING 4192....
I Shall Not Be Moved
(70) Restrained and moving first chorus piping by Breckenridge leads way to rhythmic group chanting.
Shine On Me (69) Slow, sincere harmonizing by Breckenridge and the Knights on meditative spiritual.

(NOTE: A ratings range of 40-69 was considered "satisfactory" and 70-79 was "good.")


Listen to this week's selections featuring Paul Breckenridge And The Four Heavenly Knights on King from 1947:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
 
          1. Rock-A-Ma-Soul
          2. Lonesome Road
          3. I Shall Not Be Moved
 
          ALL THREE played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
 
          1. Rock-A-Ma-Soul
          2. Lonesome Road
          3. I Shall Not Be Moved

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
 
          1. Rock-A-Ma-Soul
          2. Lonesome Road
          3. I Shall Not Be Moved
 
          ALL THREE played in sequence
          (The "m3u" file may need to be opened after it is downloaded)

      [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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