Let Jesus Fix It For You

Gospel, arguably, has often been the “R” in R&B. A long list of soul icons, from Aretha Franklin to Gladys Knight to Otis Redding to Teddy Pendergrass…they all  have come from gospel roots. In the ’70’s and ’80s, The New York Community Choir was one of the more influential groups of gospel, bringing a more secular R&B sound to gospel music.  This is a terribly over-produced track with schmaltzy strings, but it turns into a good song with a strong lead vocal and a nice soprano showcase at around 4:00.

 

  1. Let Jesus Fix It New York Community Choir 5:54

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The New York Community Choir began in the first 1970s as an offshoot from the Isaac Douglas Performers, initially including some 100 members beneath the direction of Benny Diggs. Certainly a gospel ensemble, NYCC created a method that also offered secular R&B, spirit, and pop tracks a spiritual sizing, bridging Saturday night time and Sunday morning hours. In 1977, NYCC released a self-titled debut record, made by Warren Schatz, including the long lasting dance strike “Express Yourself.” A follow-up record, Make EACH DAY Count, was released in 1978. The band included Paul Shaffer and Richard Tee on keyboards, Jeff Mironov and John Tropea on guitars,

Magnify The Lord

  1. Magnify The Lord Vernard Johnson and the Central California Mass Choir 4:07

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To my knowledge, there have only been a few solo gospel sax players that really got much notoriety; Angella Christie and Kirk Whalum come to mind.

Vernard Johnson can play for sure and over his career that went from 1973-1992 he recorded 11 albums of gospel soul-jazz-funk.  (His accompanist on piano is singing the solo harmony.)

In 1978 he release an album with the awesome title “Soul Metamorphosis: Rare & Unreissued Gospel Funk 1968-1978”

That’s All I Want

  1. That's All I Want The Stan Lee Ensemble 3:13

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I guess this sub-genre of gospel could be called “gospel soul” and Stan Lee and Benny Cummings and others were the first to record these songs in the early ’70s. I believe James Cleveland discovered and promoted the Stand Lee Ensemble and probably had a lot to do with Savoy Records recording them since Cleveland himself  (and his choirs) recorded lots of material on Savoy.