The Jubilaires

What Elements Did they Use?

The Jubilaires were a quartet which is an ensemble of four voices. They used a jubilee style of singing. So, they were a jubilee quartet and this means that they sung sacred texts in moderate tempo. They also sung in a close four-part harmony. Furthermore, they were a  gospel quartet as they sung vocal harmonies, featuring melismatic lead singers and instruments. 

Who Were They?

The Jubalaries were a Christian gospel group that sang primarily in the 1940's and in the 1950's. The members were Ted Brooks, Caleb Ginyard, Orville Brooks, George McFadden, and eventually Willie Johnson. Willie Johnson was originally a member from the Golden Gate Quartet. However, he left the Golden Gate Quartet to lead the Jubilaires in 1948. The group sung Gospel Spirituals but also sung African American Folk music.
primary perfomers

Famous Songs and achievements

The Jubilaires obtained a position at Arthur Godfrey’s CBS Radio Show and once Willie Johnson joined the group as the leader, they appeared in the film Duchess of Idaho. Some of their famous songs were recorded under Queen Records (which was an addition of King Records that specialized in African American music). These songs included :”I Know/Get Together With the Lord” and God’s Almighty Gone Cut You Down/Go Down Moses”. 


The Commodification of Quartets

In the 1930’s the regular radio broadcasting, commercial recording and touring influenced the popularization of quartets. This led to race series which were targeted towards African American audiences.


The Impact on Future Genres

During the time that the Jubiliares performed, quartets were actually starting to fade out. This led to the crossover quartet which consisted of a group that switched the performance of sacred texts to secular repertoire. In fact, the extremely popular African American music, Rhythm and Blues was heavily influenced by the sacred (or gospel) quarter style.


Summary of my Opinion

I've always wondered what type of African American music was popular in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. And for a long time I just assumed that jazz and blues was all that there was; however, now I know about the quartets. Now, I know how important this style of music is and how much it has influenced future genres as well.


Sarachik, Justin. “The Jubalaires Were Doing Gospel Rap Back in the 1940s.” Rapzilla, 11 July 2016,

What's your password?

Login to your account

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.