Music: Prayers & Popcorn

In the Deep South, which to many music merchants has long looked like arid territory, a profitable but unsung musical monster is flourishing. Billed as "Gospel and Spiritual All-Nite Sing," it is colloquially called "gospel boogie" or, more earthily, "jumping for Jesus." It takes the form of regular shows in Southern cities, featuring vocal quartets and attended by capacity crowds who come to be entertained and, occasionally, converted.

In Atlanta's Municipal Auditorium last week, the month's downbeat for uplift filled all 5,200 seats (at $1.25 to $1.60, children half price), and later the total was swelled by 1,300 standees. Things got under...

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