Featuring original Soul Stirrers, R.H. Harris, S.R. Craine, Paul Foster and artist Bruce Conner

The Soul Stirrers: By and By is a work-in-progress, feature-length documentary about the individuals and history behind the revolutionary gospel quartet, the Soul Stirrers, best known for their most charismatic member Sam Cooke. Founded in 1926 by Roy Crain in Trinity, Texas, the innovative quartet developed new vocal techniques and arrangements pioneered by their group leader, R.H. Harris, who became famous for his falsetto style and great influence on gospel, R&B, and secular music.

The filming began in 1984 when renowned artist and filmmaker, Bruce Conner (1933-2008) and Henry S. Rosenthal organized a reunion of original members from the group’s golden era in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. Conner filmed the main figures of the group on location in Texas, Illinois, and California documenting rehearsals, performances, as well as intimate, personal interviews. The Soul Stirrers have a unique history as the first African-American traveling gospel group, made possible through relationships built from church to church while traveling through the repressive, segregated and threatening America of that time. Their story parallels discernible and dramatic changes in American society over eight decades. It remains important to finish this unseen document of one of the most influential groups in music history, and to bring the feature film envisioned by Bruce Conner to fruition.