Feel The Spirit

Today’s feature song comes from my deep bag full of arcane/moldy/lost gospel songs.

As I previewed this song this morning looking for a song to post, something about the song seemed familiar.  Then it dawn on me. The notes, not the lyrics, sounded a lot like a song thought I remembered.  As the song went on, I knew right away it was a gospel remake of Peabo Bryson’s 1978 hit , “Feel The Fire”…and then I understood why the song title was “Feel The SPIRIT”.

Makes sense to me.   It’s 1980, gospel isn’t the ubiquitous thing it is today, and so to attract high school kids in Trenton N.J. to sing in a gospel choir, why not rework a kewl R&B slow jam??

So, I’m posting both songs for your listening pleasure.  The “Peabo” album was one of my favorites and I almost wore the groove out on it.  Enjoy.

 

  1. Feel The Spirit The Trenton High School Gospel Choir 7:39

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  1. Feel The Fire Peabo Bryson 4:30

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Gospel comes to Motown…or Motown comes to Gospel…or better yet:
Gospel IS Motown and Motown IS Gospel.

  1. Ain t No Mountain High Enough Pastor W. A. Treadwell & The United Faith Tabernacle Choir 3:21

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Jerry Wexler, the famous producer for Atlantic records, helped bring soul and R&B music to the world. Early on in his career Wexler coined the term R&B.  He later said, I shouldn’t have called it “Rhythm and Blues”, I SHOULD have called it “Rhythm and Gospel.”

Amen to that.

Be Right There

“When trouble come and block my way, He’ll be right there.
No matter how dark the day, He’ll be right there.
When I”m down He’ll pick me up, when I’m low He’ll fill my cup…”

 

  1. Be Right There Timothy Wright & The New York Fellowship Mass Choir 3:53

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A wonderful uptempo song from Rev. Timothy Wright and his New York Fellowship Mass Choir.  I love the fat, popping, slap bass line at the start…let’s you know what kinda song you’re getting into. Because of the refrain, many people call this song “Hallelujah Anyhow”.

All Is Well

Another song from the Gospel Music Workshop of America Mass Choir recorded in Salt Lake City in 1992.

 

  1. All Is Well Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) Mass Choir 5:56

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The song was written by Elder Roger Hairston, pastor of the Temple of Faith C.L.G. (Church of the Loving God) in Columbus OH.  He also directed the choir on this recording.  Elder Hairston is one of many, many, Hairstons who have been pastors and/or involved with gospel music.  One of the better know Hairstons was Jester Hairston, an American composer, songwriter, arranger, choral conductor, and actor. He was regarded as a leading expert on Negro spirituals and choral music. (He arranged a version of “Elijah Rock” that Joyful Voices perfromed.  The “other” version of  “Elijah Rock” was arranged by Mose Hogan). His notable compositions include “Amen,” a gospel-tinged theme from the film “Lilies of the Field” and a 1963 hit for The Impressions, and the Christmas song “Mary’s Boy Child”.  He also made many appearances on radio (Amos and Andy) and television (Amen, Family Matters, etc.)

The story of the Hairston dynasty is remarkable and is documented in the book “The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White”.

A Song In The Midst Of The Storm

  1. A Song In The Midst Of The Storm James Cleveland and The GMWA Mass Choir 5:34

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THIS is why I love gospel music so much.

I often capture songs off YouTube or the internet without listening to them…sort of trolling to find songs that might be of interest to me.  I keep the songs in a folder and then load them into an audio player where I can listen to a snippet of each song.

This morning I noticed this song, “A Song In The Midst Of The Storm”, a title I didn’t recognize.  I took a quick listen, then jumped around in the track to see where it went and immediately got hooked on it.  I wanted to know more about this song, so I began to look around the internet.  Here’s what I learned.

This is track 7 from the 1985 album “The Gospel Music Workshop of America Recorded Live at Madison Square Garden”.  The lead was sung by the late Robin Rowe-Stewart and the song was written by Donald Lawrence, founder and leader of fabulous The Tri-City Singers. Who knew??  I then wanted to know who Robin Rowe Stewart was.  Here is an excerpt from a 2002 interview with Donald Lawrence I found on gospelflava.com

Donald Lawrence then went on to honor noted Tri-City Singer vocalist Robin Rowe-Stewart, who recently went home to glory, succumbing to breast cancer in February, 2002.

“That was and still is a very painful wound. She was really like my blood sister, we go back to the first grade, through to sixth grade and high school. She’s always been a part of everything I did musically, in GMWA workshop albums, PTL, etc. I worked real hard with her to posture her for her own solo career, which was one of the next projects on my plate.”

“Everyone always felt that Robin and I were destined to have successful ministries; we would sit and dream about everything I’m doing now. I still shed a tear when I think about how much destiny was in her and how the world will never experience it. She was the funniest person and know and a phenomenal singer…she will be missed!!”

Anybody Here

New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Choir of Chicago was founded in 1894. Reverend General S. Coleman came to Chicago in 1894 from Fairfax, West Virginia, accompanied by his wife, three daughters, Sadie, Mary and Frances and his mother.  He met the Reverend Harry W. Knight and from that initial meeting, a beautiful Christian relationship developed and the began the church together.  The church is still vibrant today.

This song has a kind of Motown vibe to it…IMHO…just sounds like The Essex or a Martha and The Vandellas thing.  ANYWHO…its uptempo, fun, exciting and has a great vamp at the end.

  1. Anybody Here Harold Freeman & New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Choir 3:47

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How Long Has It Been Since You Prayed

This song by Douglas Miller is performed by Mattie Moss Clark, mother of the fabulous Clark Sisters from Detroit and served as head of the music ministry for The Church of God in Christ for years.

Douglas Miller was born on December 31, 1949 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was reared in the church singing in the choir. He went to the University of Akron, and while he was there Mattie Moss Clark trained him how to hone his craft, and presented him at Midnight Musicals put on by The Church of God in Christ.

Douglas Miller also wrote a song some of you may know, “Unspeakable Joy”…I’ll post that song tomorrow!!

  1. How Long Has It Been Since You Prayed Mattie Moss Clark 5:12

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God Is Good

This is not the traditional style “God Is Good” by Chester D.T. Baldwin that many people know, but a contemporary song with the same title from Deitrick Haddon.

 

  1. God Is Good Deitrick Haddon 3:55

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Deitrick Haddon was born in Detroit in 1972, and has become a multi talented singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, pastor, actor and pianist.  Some refer to his contemporary style as “Christian R&B”, which I guess would be a sub genre of Gospel.  There is no doubt that this song has deep R&B roots, but the subject matter takes it into the Gospel/Christian realm.  Deitrick started his recording career with a group named “Voices of Unity” and then launched his solo career in 2002; this song is from his first album.  In an interesting crossover marketing move, Haddon debuted this song on the syndicated series Soul Train.

 

 

Thank You

From 1967, a very funky kind of “gospel” song.  It sounds sort of like Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” in places…it’s a mash-up of a bunch of pop songs, but the lyrics are clearly gospel lyrics.  I can’t find ANY information on The Twilights, other than the fact that this album is VERY rare.  No idea where they were from.  There are other songs from them on Youtube.

  1. Thank You The Twilights 2:41

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Oh Give Thanks

Yet another song of thanks.  Giving thanks is a common theme found in gospel music of all kinds.

  1. Oh Give Thanks Dallas Fort Worth Mass Choir 6:32

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