Saturday, June 05, 2010

Breath of Life Quartet--Found on-line [Updated--Lost again]

Update: Bummer. Big-time bummer. Alerted by reader Doug Downing, I checked today and discovered that the music has all disappeared. The site appears to be there, but not only do embeds not work, when you try to download, you get an offer to sell you the domain name. Very bad sign. Looks like the music itself is gone and only the playlist left. We have the tracks, downloaded in June, but I feel bad for readers.

Below is the original post as it appeared three months ago.


This is a truly great find. Back in the 1970's and (I think) into the 1980's there was a black group called the Breath of Life Quartet. They seem to have disappeared from the scene without a trace, unless you count a follow-up group that (of course) calls itself "BLQ" a trace. I'd rather not. The original Breath of Life Quartet had an ethereal sound that was absolutely amazing. I've now learned that the album I listened to over and over again on cassette tape in the church van (Pastor Aycock weaving back and forth to the public danger, for which God saw to it that he never received a ticket), was called Spirituals.

Ever since I've had Internet access to speak of, I've been periodically searching for these recordings on-line. Not knowing the name of the album was a real problem, and I never could find it, not even on e-bay. (It doesn't help that there is a woodwind group also called the Breath of Life Quartet.) I have what sounds like a copy of a copy of Spirituals on a cassette tape, labeled simply "Black Quartet" in handwriting. I kept listening to that, copied it again before it broke, and played it for my kids many times.

But a few weeks back, when I was once more lamenting the difficulty of finding the music on the Internet, Eldest Daughter went to work on her own. By the simple expedient of dropping the word "quartet" from her search, she found the entire album on-line for free embedding and download. Within minutes. Kids are amazing on computers.

Suppose that you think my Gospel music craze is more than a bit strange. No problem. Forget that. This is not a Southern Gospel sound. These are black spirituals sung in an indescribably pure style. No emotional vocal display. No blast-your-ears excitement. They are really very beautiful. Below are three of them, but all the rest are available at the link, even though it comes up with a particular one. Just look at the box on the right that says "Album related Spirituals" for the other tracks. And if you like them, download them now and burn 'em to a CD. It would be a real shame if they disappeared again from mortal ken.

Breath of Life Quartet

Breath of Life - Ezekiel Saw De Wheel

Found at abmp3 search engine

Breath of Life - No More Sorrow

Found at abmp3 search engine

Breath of Life - King Jesus

Found at abmp3 search engine


Thabo Mokete said...

Lydiawell said about the Breath of Life Quartet. I bought some years ago on the internet two LPs of their music, the "Spirituals" and the "Plenty Good Room" albums. Priceless!

Doug Downing said...

Lydia, the host site for these mp3's expired on 8/13/2010. Any way you can post the mp3's on your site so I can download them? Like you, I checked periodically for years to find them. My dad's album was ruined some time ago.



Lydia McGrew said...

Doug, it looks like you're right about the embed. They don't seem to play from here where they are embedded anymore. But have you tried clicking on the links? The title of each song in this post has a link associated with it. If you click on the song title, it should take you to the site itself. I just tried it, and the site still appears to be there and still offers free download of the songs. I didn't try the free download, because I already have them, but see if it works for you.

I couldn't host the songs here; blogger doesn't offer audio hosting services. In theory I could upload them all to a different Yahoo web site that I own, but I'd just as soon not do that.

I'll be interested to know what happens when you try to go to the links, because as I say, it does still appear that you can get them there.

Unknown said...

You can order a copy of the Breath of Life Quartet "Spirituals" album on CD at

Lydia McGrew said...

I went to the link, and although the album cover is there, it says these are album covers from "satisfied customers." The distinct impression I get is that one can only get a digital copy of an album if one already owns that album in vinyl or cassette. It doesn't look like you can just buy a copy if you don't already own it. Presumably this has to do with copyright.

Unknown said...

Wow, I just started my search for Breath of Life music, and I'm sad it's so hard to find! Ebay does currently have the "Spirituals" record, for only... $320. I'm able to at least listen to some of their songs on youtube, but one of my favorites is missing: "No More Sorrow." This was playing as we walked out at the close of my uncle's memorial service. (Someday I'll have to browse your blog - I'm also a homeschool mom, and your blogs on politics etc. look intriguing.)

Lydia McGrew said...

Hello: They're on Grooveshark now. I have them linked here:

You can definitely listen to them that way, and with the right software I'm told you can save them.

Lydia McGrew said...

"No More Sorrow" is there along with the others!

Have fun browsing the site. Glad to see you here.