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Great God Aʼmighty! The Dixie HummingbirdsCelebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music$
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Jerry Zolten

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195152722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152722.001.0001

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“A Wheel in a Wheel, 'Way Up in the Middle of the Air” (1916–1928)

“A Wheel in a Wheel, 'Way Up in the Middle of the Air” (1916–1928)

(p.1) 1 “A Wheel in a Wheel, 'Way Up in the Middle of the Air” (1916–1928)
Great God Aʼmighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds

Jerry Zolten

Oxford University Press

“A wheel in a wheel.” So go the words of the old African American spiritual. No one knows exactly what the ancient biblical images meant, but they do coincidentally resonate with the life of James B. Davis, founder of the trailblazing Dixie Hummingbirds. His entire existence, so it seems, has been caught up in wheels within wheels. The story of the Dixie Hummingbirds rightly begins with the coming of age of James Davis. He is prototypical of the founding fathers of modern black gospel music. His experiences growing up in the 1920s in a black community in the segregated South had everything to do with the Dixie Hummingbirds—the direction they took, the music they performed, and the impact they ultimately had on gospel music as a genre.

Keywords:   Dixie Hummingbirds, James Davies, black gospel music, black community

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