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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security


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Atom And Evil: The Golden Gate Quartet [1947]

This gospel song worries about the potential misuse of atomic power by an undefined 'Evil.' While The Golden Gate Quartet was no doubt referring to a global, metaphoric 'Evil,' one without geographic borders, the U.S. government was busily anticipating the inevitable goal of the nation it believed to be the true evil, the USSR. And on that day when the Russians tested their first bomb (August 29, 1949), 'evil' would be defined for us by politicians…repeatedly.

The Golden Gate Quartet was formed in 1934 in Norfolk, Virginia and is best remembered for popularizing the 'jubilee' style of black gospel. The original line-up for The Gates, as they came to be known, was William Langford (first tenor), Henry Owens (second tenor), Willie Johnson (baritone) and Orlandus Wilson (bass). The Gates first found success on the radio, especially on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their first recording session for the Bluebird label in 1937 produced such songs as Jonah and Bedside Of A Neighbor. In 1939 the group appeared at Carnegie Hall in John Hammond's 'Spirituals To Swing' concert which led to their broadcasting several times a week on the CBS radio network in New York. In 1940 the group teamed with Leadbelly for a session, and, in 1941, the group signed with Columbia. In the '40s The Gates appeared in a number of films including 'Star Spangled Rhythm,' 'Hit Parade Of 1943,' 'Hollywood Canteen,' 'Bring On The Girls' and 'A Song Is Born.' In 1948 the group left Columbia and signed with Mercury. In 1955 they toured Europe and in 1959 the group moved permanently to France, where despite various changes in composition, they are still active to this day.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Atom And Evil: The Golden Gate Quartet [1947]

Now brothers and sisters,
I’m troubled to say
Brother Atom is gone astray
Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen

This is the story of Atom and Evil
Their courtship is causin’ a great upheaval
Now Atom was a sweet young innocent thing
Until the night that Miss Evil took him under her wing

Now Atom was an honest, hard workin’ man
He wanted to help out the human clan
But Evil got him drunk on prejudice and hate
And she taught him how to gamble with Humanity’s fate
(So true!)

I’m talkin’ ‘bout Atom, and Evil
Atom and Evil
If you don’t break up that romance soon
We’ll all fall down and go boom, boom, boom!

Now if Evil gets Atom, ‘twill be such a shame
Because a-plenty of big shots are playin’ that dame
Now his sleep will be troubled, and his life will be cursed
Lord, if Atom plays with evil, Jack, he won’t be the first!
(So true!)

I’m talkin’ ‘bout Atom, and Evil
Atom and Evil
If you don’t break up that romance soon
We’ll all fall down and go boom, boom, (boom), boom!

Now Atom is a youngster and pretty hard to handle
But we better step in and stop that scandal
Because if Atom and Evil should ever be wed
Lord, then darn near all of us are goin’ to be dead!
(So True)

I’m talkin’ ‘bout Atom, and Evil
Atom and Evil
If you don’t break up that romance soon
We’ll all fall down and go boom, boom, (boom), boom!

Atom and Evil
Atom and Evil
If you don’t break up that romance soon
We’ll all fall down and go boom, boom, (boom), boom!
We’re sitting on the edge of doom (doom) (doom) (doom) doom!

Golden Gate Quartet [1947]
Atom And Evil
(Zaret-Singer)
Columbia 37 236-4

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