How the Isley Brothers Created ‘Shout’

NEVER under estimate the influence that the CHURCH and GOSPEL MUSIC has had on secular music of all kinds.  Here is a wonderful story of how strong gospel roots led to The Isley Brothers’ song  “Shout”, one of the earliest and best-known party songs.  RLS From The Wall Street JournalFriday, November 6, 2015 By Marc … Read more and listen How the Isley Brothers Created ‘Shout’

I Want To Be Ready

In 1999, this was one of the very first songs Geoffrey Dana Hick taught his travel choir. The choir’s amazing tour of Umbria in Italy was the impetus for the founding of “Joyful Voices of Inspiration”. Although I didn’t know it at the time, many of the songs the early choir learned were James Cleveland … Read more and listen I Want To Be Ready

Welcome Note

There is such a rich treasury of gospel music, from the “traditional” songs written in the 1930s – 1950’s, to the mass choir sound pioneered by James Cleveland in the late-60’s, and on through the soul, funk, hip-hop and rap gospel that defines “contemporary” gospel. We want to share some of this music with our … Read more and listen Welcome Note

Essential Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972). Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”. She became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist. She was described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as “the … Read more and listen Essential Mahalia Jackson

He’s a Keepa

In my family we’ve always referred to good things as being “a keepa”…boyfriends, girlfriends, snapshots, recipes…whatever. So this song’s title just grabbed my attention and I love it. Yes it’s contemporary, but the vocals are good, the bassline is fun, the lyrics are simple and to the point, the vamp (3:13) is easy to get … Read more and listen He’s a Keepa

God Is

“God Is” was written by Dr. Robert Fryson and was first recorded in 1979 by Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir. This recording by The Soul Children of Chicago is wonderful because of the power of the performance; these “kids” make a BIG sound.  I also chose this version because I have … Read more and listen God Is

Bread of Heaven

James Moore “Live” With The Mississippi Mass Choir, 1995 Reverend James Moore Sr. (February 1, 1956 – June 7, 2000), born in Detroit, Michigan, was a gospel artist well known throughout the gospel recording industry for his powerful vocal abilities. Moore had a genuine love for the traditional sounds of the church, but came to … Read more and listen Bread of Heaven

It’s a Highway to Heaven (Walking Down the King’s Highway)

“It’s a Highway to Heaven (Walking Down the King’s Highway)” was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, “The Father of Black Gospel Music”, and Mary Gardner in 1954. This recording not only has wonderful vocals, but features a classic Hammond B3 organ.  The Hammond B3 was introduced in 1955 and among the early customers of the … Read more and listen It’s a Highway to Heaven (Walking Down the King’s Highway)

Jesus When Troubles Burden Me Down

Reverend Timothy Wright started on piano at age 12, and sang and composed for his church choir as a teenager at the St. John’s Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God in Brooklyn. He played piano for Bishop F. D. Washington and Isaac Douglas in the 1960s and 1970s, including on recordings, and he formed his … Read more and listen Jesus When Troubles Burden Me Down