Recordings: Back to God

The piano plunks out a few chords, the snare picks up the beat, a bongo drum is tapped infectiously, and a low, husky female voice calls out to a chorus of men and women, which answers each phrase:

Oh happy day,

Oh happy day,

When Jesus washed,

Oh when he washed,

When Jesus washed,

He washed the sins away.

Words to clap hands by in a Negro church on Sunday night? Not really. They just happen to be the stuff of the nation's No. 5 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Composed, arranged and conducted by Edwin Hawkins, the 25-year-old son of an Oakland, Calif.,...

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