What does it take to make a great gospel song. At the minimum:
Great song: “Stand By Me”.
Great Composer: Thomas A. Dorsey, “The Father of Gospel Music”.
Classic Lyrics: “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me…”
Great singer/soloist: R.H. Harris (Predecessor to Sam Cooke in The Soul Stirrers).
Great accompaniment: Just a wonderful Hammond B3 organ.
VOILA!! What more do you need? Instant winner. Enjoy.
As I was driving yesterday, Aretha Franklin’s version of “Drown In My Own Tears” came on, and I was amazed about how very, very closely the song sounded for all the world just like a gospel song. Same great female lead solo, fantastic backup vocals from the choir, chords that are pure gospel, or just one note off, and a killer vamp at the end. As I listened again this morning, I recalled Beverly Crawford’s version of “(You Must Be) Born Again”, and knew it was just the gospel twin of Aretha’s song. And then I thought of Cream’s song, “Sitting On Top Of The World” and one see’s exactly where Soul, R&B and Gospel intersect with Rock music, so I’m throwing that in too for good measure.
This is a wonderful, simple lesson on the influence of black American blues, gospel, and soul music on the world
Possibly the biggest mentee to John P Kee would be R&B and gospel star Michael Speaks. Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, moving to New York City, and now living in Los Angeles, California, this follower of the “Prince of Gospel” came out with an album in 1995 entitled “No Equal.” The biggest hit on the CD is his remix of the famous John P. Kee classic “Jesus Is Real.” I’ve included John P Kee’s orginal version if you want to compare versions. There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Speaks is real.
This is a really powerful song I stumbled upon recently. This woman can SANG. If you like this, you’ll can love the video of this live performance. Go to: https://youtu.be/Z-ZV61eDLXI
Jekalyn Almonique Carr (born April 22, 1997) is an American singer, songwriter, author, and motivational speaker. She was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Gospel Performance at the age of 18 in 2016. She wrote a book, You Will Win, which was published in 2018 and tied into a single released by the same name. The single stayed at #1 on the Billboard Gospel radio charts for 6 weeks. Carr has also been featured on Greenleaf on the Oprah Winfrey Network and in upcoming film Never Heard. Carr was also honored by Ebony magazine as one of the POWER 100 most influential people in 2014 in the world
The amazing Rev. James Moore. This man had the most amazing voice and he really was a soldier for the Lord, continuing to perform even after diabetes took his eye sight and put him in a wheel chair in the 90’s.
Moore’s last recording, entitled “Family and Friends, Live in Detroit”, from which this cut is taken, was recorded in the summer of 1999 in his hometown of Detroit, with some of his dearest industry friends and gospel notables, such as Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Rudolph Stanfield, and Darius Twyman. The album was released in early 2000, shortly before his death at the age of 44.
Our last post was from Tramaine Hawkins. Here’s a great song from the master himself, the late, great, Walter Hawkins. This was recorded at one of his annual “Love Alive” seminars and features soloists Shirley Miller and Yvette Flunder.
Full & CompleteWalter Hawkins & The Love Center Choir13:27
James Moore won stardom singing “You’ve Been Truly Wondrously Blessed”. He was inspired and coached by Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and the Clark sisters and the Rev. James Cleveland. He began his career with the G.M.W.A in 1974, and went on to record many albums. Despite a diabetic affliction that took his sight in 1994 he still traveled preaching and singing where ever he went. He performed with such legendary gospel artist such as Lashun Pace, Rev. Cleveland, Frank Williams, Dr. Bobby Jones, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and countless others. In 1998 inducted into Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He was nickname by radio announcers as the King of Gospel and was considered by many to be one of the greatest voices of our time.
You've Been Truly Wondrously BlessedRev. James Moore3:51
A beautiful song from one of the great contemporary female gospel singers, Ms. Tramaine Hawkins. Tramaine was married to the late, great, Walter Hawkins.
She scored several hits as a solo artist in the 1980s while signed to Light Records and released now-classic albums, such as her 1979 self-titled debut, Tramaine; and its 1983 follow-up Determined. Songs such as “Changed,” “Goin Up Yonder”, “He’s That Kind Of Friend”, Jesus Christ Is The Way” and “Highway” quickly became staples and fan favorites.
Tramaine was briefly a member of the 1970s soul female singing group Honey Cone. Honey Cone later recorded the R&B hit “Want Ads” that made its way back into the gospel genre by being sampled on Mary Mary’s 2005 hit “Heaven“.
LaShun Pace and her eight sisters preached the good news in song for years as The Anointed Pace Sisters. LaShun decided to step out on her own in 1991 and with her first album, He Lives, she experienced a great deal of success winning many accolades. He Lives is listed as the #56 of the 100 greatest gospel albums from 1970-2009.
A nice old school rendition of “You Should Have Been There”. Sister Emma Tucker is a new name to me, but it’s clear she’s the real deal. For fun I added a song that follows the “the Lord told me” theme from Ms. Fontella Bass of “Rescue Me” fame from 1965.
You Should Have Been ThereSister Emma Tucker2:26
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You Don't Know What The Lord ToldFontella Bass3:37