Blessed Assurance: Andrew Gouché’s Farewell To Joel Smith

Andrew Gouché remembers his longtime friend and fellow bassist, Joel Smith

Blessed Assurance: Andrew Gouché’s Farewell To Joel Smith

Andrew Gouché remembers his longtime friend and fellow bassist, Joel Smith

It was 1975, and the Hawkins Family had come down to L.A. from Oakland for the Watts Summer Festival. Sixteen-year-old Andrew Gouché, two years deep into a lifelong bass obsession, was in for a surprise. “I went to see them, and they were playing ‘Going to a Place,’ a funky, uptempo song. That was the first time I ever saw someone play chords in gospel,” Gouché remembers. “But I didn’t ask how he did it. I was like, why? Why did you do that? Why did your brain know that would be the killingest thing on earth, ever?” He laughs. “That’s the way Joel Smith’s playing was. Every time I saw him play, he was always better than the last time. Every time.” Gouché and Smith  That hot August day was the beginning of a friendship and deep mutual respect between two of gospel’s greatest musicians. Both born in 1959 — Gouché in May, Smith in December — Andrew and Joel would play together on several Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir sessions in the
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E. E. Bradman   By: E. E. Bradman

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