I learned a few days ago that Rev. James Cleveland wrote just over 300 songs in his lifetime. It is amazing how few of those are well known; most of the titles were foreign to me. So, I’m going to start rooting around to find some of these “lost” Cleveland songs. Not all will be great I’m sure…if they were they would be well known classics…but you never know with gospel music.
Today’s offering is from the 1975 album titled “Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir”. This was one of the first choirs Cleveland directed through the 70’s and 80’s.
Lord Give Me A Patient SpiritRev. James Cleveland & The Southern California Community Choir4:19
I stumbled on a great song for today, an oldie from Rev. Maceo Wood titled “I’m Going All The Way”. The song isn’t your basic gospel song; it has a jazzier swing to it. Actually it reminds me, both in tune, style and vocal, of a Geoff Hicks song (I’ll post a few of those in the coming days).
Enjoy this beautiful Sunday!!
I'm Going All The WayRev. Maceo Wood & The Christian Tabernacle Good News Broadcast Choir5:52
Today’s offering is from a 1980’s album titled “Rev. James Cleveland Presents John Springer and Bread”. Throughout his life, Rev. James Cleveland worked hard to give talented young gospel songwriters and performers opportunities to learn and excel. This album is just such an example. Cleveland’s Gospel Music Workshop of America is his living legacy and even today provides a vehicle for songwriters, musicians, choral directors and producers to come together to learn, support each other, and share skills and ideas on traditional, contemporary and emerging gospel music.
There are so many songs about holding on to God’s unchanging hand (I think this is the third song I’ve posted with this title), and rightly so…it’s easy to find yourself in a place where you are discouraged, downhearted and about to throw in the towel. But the race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to those who hold on and can endure to the end. Keep the faith and keep on holding on.
A nice piece of contemporary R&B gospel from Karen Clark-Sheard’s 2nd album released in 2002. Karen was of the members of the FABULOUS Clark Sisters from Detroit Michigan.
In 2001 Karen was faced with a life-threatening crisis when a blood vessel burst during a scheduled hernia surgery. Her doctors only gave her a 2% chance of survival due to her complications. After the blood clot was surgically removed, Karen fell into a coma. The coma lasted three and a half weeks, but she made a miraculous recovery. Despite citing hernia surgery, fans continue to speculate that she had undergone a gastric bypass operation which led to the complications of hernia and brain aneurysm because after the ordeal Sheard returned in 2001 looking 1/3 of her size.
Though the release performed well on the charts and Karen’s vocals were in excellent form, the slick contemporary R&B production was not openly embraced by her core audience of traditional gospel music listeners.
Some nice traditional gospel from the early ’80s. My guess is this choir is from the Gary/West Bend part of northern Indiana. Being as close to Chicago as those cities are, I’m sure there is a lot of Chicago influence on this choir.
Christ Want To Come InIndiana State Mass Choir5:35
What the heck, let’s keep this “Home” theme going a bit; there is certainly no lack of songs about “making it home” in the realm of gospel music. In fact, it is one of the principle themes of gospel music…well, in religious music as a whole.
I was just reminded of the lyrics of a song by Myrna Summer titled “An Uncloudy Day“, that I thought would be a great example of a wonderful old black gospel song about “Home”. Unfortunately that song was written in 1886 by Rev Josiah Kelly “J.K.” Alwood, a white minister who served as presiding elder of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ Church in Ohio for 23 years. Nonetheless, the lyrics are still relevant here.
Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies,
Oh, they tell me of a home far away;
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day.
And speaking of HOME, it is good to be home. Yes, they almost had to “Carry Me Home” because of my funky knee, but all is well and I will deal gracefully with whatever comes next.
This is an old Keith Pringle song that I love. Great pounding bass and drums, fine piano, nice B3 and a great choir; all the ingredients needed for a great uptempo song.
Nice to be back at it. Enjoy!!!
Carry Me HomeKeith Pringle and the Pentecostal Community Choir4:07
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Oh, one more thing. The Cambridge Center for Adult Education has invited me back this fall to do a 4 class series on the great Mass Choirs of Gospel. Classes will be held weekly from 3:30-5:00PM starting on November 8. It should be both informative and lots of fun!!!