I found this song on YouTube, and thought I’d post it because I liked it. I just researched the artist, King Louis H. Narcisse on Wikipedia. What an amazing bio.
This song is kind of like Bobby “Blues” Bland meets gospel. If you were ever unsure that blues, R&B, soul and gospel are all intertwined and part and parcel of the black musical experience, now you know.
- Without The Lord King Louis H. Narcisse 2:51
Louis H. Narcisse (April 27, 1921 – February 3, 1989), also known as King Louis H. Narcisse, was an African-American religious leader and the founder of the Mt. Zion Spiritual Church. He claimed religious leaders of the time such as Father Divine, Daddy Grace and, James F. Jones were his divine predecessors. [I’ve heard the names, but know nothing more about these “divine” pastors with colorful names – RLS]
He was an organizer and spiritual healer in Oakland, California. He was also a gospel minister, vocalist, musician, and composer with whom gospel singer Mahalia Jackson often collaborated.
Louis Herbert Narcisse was born on April 27, 1921 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Stella Narcisse. His father, Jesse Narcisse, was killed in a shipboard accident before his birth. The youngest of four siblings, Narcisse came from a devout Baptist family. At an early age, young Narcisse knew that he had been touched by the hand of God. His family found out early on that Narcisse was something very special, a religious child prodigy who was reserved but loved to pray and sing spiritual music. His singing talents were first locally recognized in New Orleans when he was a teenager, where Narcisse won five radio auditions. As a teen, he became a soloist at church services and funerals.
At 18 years old, Narcisse entered into the Christian ministry in the summer of 1939. Narcisse migrated to California during World War II when God spoke to him to come to California. He found a job in Hunter’s Point Shipyards in San Francisco, California as an electrical worker earning $85 a week. He lived at a Hunter’s Point War World II Housing Project.
In South San Francisco the Mt. Zion movement began with a small prayer meeting,” from there Narcisse founded Mount Zion Spiritual Temple in Oakland on November 8, 1945 under the credo “It’s nice to be nice.” The church was named after his boyhood church in New Orleans, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which had been the place of his baptism, but Narcisse’s Mount Zion Spiritual Temple was actually a Spiritualist church in the African-American Spiritual Church Movement tradition. As his popularity grew, he presided over several churches in Oakland, Sacramento, Houston, and Detroit, and travelled between them.