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.
Feel The SpiritThe Trenton High School Gospel Choir7:39
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!!
How Long Has It Been Since You PrayedMattie Moss Clark5:12
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.
The AMAZING late Eva Cassidy singing her interpretation of the spiritual “Wade In The Water”. This song was originally performed by The Fisk Jubilee Singers in a much more “classical” style back in the early 1900’s
IF you have yet to be introduced to the music of Eva Cassidy, IMMEDIATE go listen to her on YouTube. Her “Live At Blues Alley” album is one of the best. Period. Eva really only become a sensation after her tragic death from melanoma in 1996. The “Eva By Heart” album this song is from was the first studio album she recorded before she died and was the third album published after her death. Just listen to her magnificent voice…how sad we lost her at such a young age.
Here is a magnificent, powerful duet with Myrna Summers starting off the song and then Rev. Timothy Wright joining in, followed later by whole the BJ Mass Choir. One of my favorite songs.
From a review by Michael Lyttle of the “Been There, Done That” album that this cut is from :
“Why can’t every Sunday worship service sound like this? Recorded live at James Temple in Cincinnati, Reverend Timothy Wright leads the B/J Mass Choir through a rollicking and rolling hour of gospel glory. When Wright isn’t lifting the roof off the house with testimonials like “You Are My Everything” and “Give You the Glory,” he’s moving you off those church pews with the funky grooves of “Been There Done That” and “Don’t Believe He Brought Me This Far.” With powerhouse vocals and a spirited backing cast, Wright continues to find new ways to use a gospel choir with his unique arrangements. The Brooklyn, New York, native is etching a mark among the genre’s finest talents with releases like this.“
You Are My EverythingRev. Timothy Wright & The B-J Mass Choir Feat. Myrna Summers5:49
Don’t sell this song short. It opens up sounding a bit like a recycled Mary Mary song, but the song builds and builds (with some great background vocal work) until it morphs into a full blown gospel sing. This woman can sing!
This song is from Tamela Mann’s first CD that debuted in 2005 and was voted Best Gospel Album at the 2006 Stellar Awards. (One early reviewer simply referred to the CD as “a keeper and a gem”). Her subsequent albums have soared to the top of Bllboard’s gospel charts.
Tamela Mann was born in Fort Worth, TX (home to Kirk Franklin) and joined him as a singer with Kirk Franklin and The Family. She also spend her early years doing a lot of gospel theater and some film before embarking on her solo career.
Here is a nice take on a song we all know, Kumbaya. Kum ba yah (“Come by Here“) was first recorded in the 1920s. The title may well come from an early version sung in Gullah in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia called “Come by Yuh”.
Evelyn Turrentine-Agee was born in 1946 as the third sibling in an eighteen sibling household. Her father, Cleveland Tyler, was a deacon in the church, and her mother was Ruthie Mae Tyler. She started singing on stage at the age of three because her father was in a quartet, and later they formed a family gospel girl group, The Tylerettes. She graduated high school by seventeen, and this enabled her to make her first record. Her education would not get forsaken because of her musical acumen and prowess because she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology that she earned at the University of Detroit. Many gospel music groups tried to get her to join them, but her stay with them was rather brief because she had a strong desire for a solo music career.
An online synopsis of Richard Smallwood’s “Healing: Live in Detroit” album calls it “a dynamic, moving performance that demonstrates the power and energy that Richard Smallwood and Vision display in concert.” Yup, that exactly sums it up.
And of all the songs on the album, “Healing” is the best…IMHO. The dynamics the singers apply to each and every word is remarkable and shows what an extraordinary group of singers they are and what an exactly director Smallwood is.
This song can reduce me to tears…to me it’s as powerful, if not more so, than his “Total Praise”. (And Smallwood’s soaring single note at 3:52 is remarkable.)
From John P. Kee and his New Life Community Choir comes this beautiful gospel ballad lead by singer Shelia Lakin. This is almost two separate songs, with the solo verses making up the first part, and the one minute vamp with the entire choir led by John P. Kee that starts at 3:49 as the other part. It’s all good!!