Spirit of Memphis Quartet

gospel group, Memphis

Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2001)

Photo by Jed DeKalb


One of the oldest continually active African American gospel groups in the country, the Spirit of Memphis Quartet was founded in 1930.  Within their first few years, they were among the only black musical groups prominent on local radio.  As a capella quartet singing surged in national popularity, the Spirit of Memphis took the name of their hometown across the country, regularly singing, as they did at home, in church and auditorium programs.  After World War II they also enjoyed a successful recording career for many year, experiencing personnel changes which brought into the group some of the most prominent singers in the quartet genre.  In recent decades the group has remained active under the able leadership of Melvin Mosely, performing widely in local programs and heritage music events.


To see the Spirit of Memphis Quartet’s profile in the 2001 Governor’s Awards in the Arts program, click here.

For more about the Spirit of Memphis, go to:

Youtube addr for 2001 Gov Awd

For further reading, see:

Hayes, Cedric J., and Robert Laughton, Gospel Records 1943-1969 (London: Record Information Services, 1993), pp.697-700.
Lornell, Kip, "Happy in the Service of the Lord":  Afro-American Gospel Quartets in Memphis.  (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988).
-------, “Successes of the Spirit,” in Ted Olson and Anthony P. Cavender, eds., A Tennessee Folklore Sampler: Selections from the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin (1935-2009), (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2009). pp. 292-96.
Young, Alan, “Moving With the Spirit,” Rejoice!: The Journal of Traditional Southern Gospel Music 5, #1 (Winter 1994):3-8.
-------, Woke Me Up This Morning: Black Gospel Singers and the Gospel Life (Jackson: Univerity of Mississippi Press, 1997): 67-77.


Happy in the Service of the Lord (CD 2005)
Traveling On, High Water HMG 6507(CD 1997)
Lord Jesus, Nasha LKP-001 (LP)
Legend of the Spirit of Mempis, Randy’s Spiritual (LP 1968)
If I Should Miss Heaven, Peacock PLP 109 (LP 1961)
New Horizon, ALP 7005.