Can You Reach My Friend?

This song is a little sappy and a little preachy about being saved by God’s love, but I love it anyway.

  1. Can You Reach My Friend Helen Baylor 4:10

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Pressing My Way

In case you’re wondering why so many posts recently, the snow storm is cranking up, Tucker is on the Cape reuning with old friends and Jack and I are holding the fort for the weekend…and posting to the blog.

Born and raised in Mississippi, Lillian Lily has been singing in the church her whole life. In the 1980’s she became a charter member and lead vocalist for the now world famous Mississippi Mass Choir. This cut is from her debut solo album in 1990.  This is good old time country gospel updated with a strong bass and horns and a great backup choir (probably friends from Mississippi Mass!).

  1. Pressing My Way Lillian Lilly 5:26

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Witness

Melvin Murphy is a gifted Boston gospel musician. In 2006 he pulled together a group of great singers who called themselves The Boston Chapter of The Gospel Music Workshop of America to be “the choir” on a CD Melvin wanted to put together. (The group was never heard from again to my knowledge…too bad, they were dynamite) The CD was recorded live at a church in Roxbury; Ellie Pendergast and I went. It was wonderful session and both the choir and Melvin were outstanding.

One of my favorite cuts from the concert is “Witness” which I believe was written by Melvin. The vamp is great: Tenors start in with “Tryin’ to find a witness…tryin’ to find a witness”, then the altos jump in with “Wit…ness…tryin’ to find a witness” and then the soprano’s come in “I’m lookin’ through this house, tryin’ to find a witness”.  Infectious.  Enjoy,

  1. Witness Minister Melvin Murphy & The Gmwa Boston Chapter Choir 9:31

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I Will Celebrate

Maranatha Music is christian praise music that started to appear in the 1970s.  By 1990 megachurches with large music programs were sprouting all over the U.S. and much of their musical liturgy was this newly coined christian music. (Not a bad thing, by the by.)

The song “I Will Celebrate” was written in 1990 and covered by the Marantha Singers in 1991.  I consider the Marantha Singers to be the Singers Unlimited of christian pop music.  Great catchy a capella arrangement and harmonies and great voices…and nice bass line!

  1. I Will Celebrate The Maranatha Singers 2:57

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They That Wait On The Lord

There is alway a story. About 2/3’s of the way through this song a male soloist comes in and sings some great stuff (6:08 – 7:48) . If you ever see the video, he’s a very large man. His name is David Peaston and his mother, Martha Bass, was a member of The Clara Ward Singers gospel group. His older sister was R&B/soul singer Fontella Bass (“Rescue Me”).

  1. They That Wait On The Lord Georgia Mass Choir 9:44

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In the late 1980s, Peaston won several competitions on the Showtime at the Apollo television show, winning over the audience with a powerful rendition of “God Bless the Child”. He was signed by Geffen Records, and his first single, “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Right)” rose to no. 3 on the Billboard Black Singles chart in 1989. He had further hits on the R&B chart with “Can I?” and “We’re All In This Together”, and released an album, Introducing…David Peaston.

He also toured with Gerald Alston in Europe, and with Gladys Knight in the US, before moving to the MCA label in 1991, where he issued the album Mixed Emotions. In 1993 he recorded a gospel album with Fontella and Martha Bass entitled “Promises: A Family Portrait Of Faith”.

During the 1990s, Peaston was diagnosed with diabetes, and in 2004 had his legs amputated, forcing him to use prostheses. (Talk about being of good courage!) When he was preparing to be honored at the 2004 event “A Celebration of Love in St. Louis,” he struggled with whether he had let his disease prevent him from ever performing on stage again. “I didn’t want to be back in the public,” he told the Post-Dispatch that year. “I wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed, but I felt I let myself down and, therefore, I let everyone else down. It was my fault for being sick, and I didn’t want anybody to see me like that.” But by 2004, he lost 200 pounds, and sang with the St. Louis group the Distinguished Gents for five years. The group performed a mix of classical, jazz and gospel songs annually at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. He also toured Europe until his older sister, Fontella Bass, fell ill.

Peaston died from complications of diabetes in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 1, 2012, at the age of 54 and tragically his sister, Fontella, died in December of the same year at the age of 72.

Your Glory

The simplest of simple praise and worship songs…beautifully executed by Ms. Dottie Peoples.

“As Your glory fills this house and Your presence floods my soul, even now and forever more, Your name be praised.”

That’s it.

  1. Your Glory Dottie Peoples 6:09

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Yet Praise Him

Okay, up on your feet…time for a little praise dancing!!

Founded by Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr., the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship Mass Choir numbered some 1, 500-plus members drawn from the each of the denomination’s regional bishops. Debuting in 1996 with “A New Thing, Experience the Fullness”, the choir returned two years later in 1998 with “Bow Down and Worship Him”. This track is from the “Bow Down and Worship Him” CD.   [Source: www.allmusic.com]

Yes, it’s very contemporary and very hip-hop, but the choir is outstanding and the vamp (starting at 3:42) is infectious as each part sings the “Yet Praise Him” refrain and then finally all join together as one [notice that, as is the case with most gospel choirs, that there are only three parts; sopranos, altos and tenors]  until the rather abrupt end (where one can’t help continue to keep on singing “Yet Praise Him”…which is fine because the audio loops right back to the beginning of the song!)

  1. Yet Praise Him Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship Mass Choir 5:14

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Lead Me On

Again, one of my favorites…especially the “t-t-t-t-t-take my hand and lead me on” at 1:48. Great old time traditional church gospel. (Okay, I’m a sucker for songs with a heavy, walking bass line.)

Clay Evans (born June 23, 1925) is an African American Baptist pastor and founder of the influential Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois famous for its gospel music infused Sunday service and choir. Rev. Clay Evans released his first musical project in 1984, “What He’s Done For Me” with Savoy Records. All-in-all, he has had eleven albums that have charted on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart over the course of his career. He received a nomination for the Best Gospel Album at the 1997 Soul Train Music Awards. [Source: Wikipedia]

  1. Lead Me On Rev. Clay Evans 4:13

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Til We Meet Again

As I listened to this song this morning, I thought of it not so much as the singer saying good night to the audience but more as someone saying their good bye to Dr. Martin Luther King.  Amen.

  1. Til We Meet Again Evelyn Turrentine-Agee 5:56

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Glory Glory Hallelujah, Since I Lay My Burdens Down

Got some things that are burdening you and weighing heavily your mind? Lay those burdens down and lighten your load.

Another great old style gospel song from the Smithsonian Folkways Wade in the Water collection. There are so many harmonies going on here it’s really fun to sing along…almost any thing you make up works. Great clapping too. This really is old style country congregational gospel singing at its best.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

  1. Glory, Glory Hallelujah Since I Laid My Burden Down The Blue Spring Mississippi Baptist Delegation 4:08

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