Walk With Me Lord

  1. Walk With Me Lord Tina Turner 3:36

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Here is an appropriate song for today since the “Walk For Music” is being held in East Boston this afternoon. This is from the album “The Gospel According to Ike and Tina” (Who knew, right??), one of the last albums the duo recorded in 1974 before their divorce. Tina always said they never ever did anything nice and easy, and they approached their Gospel in the same manner. Drawing on the style she heard in the churches in her youth, Tina brings that same fiery passion to this song.

Walk With Me Lord” is a solo by Tina and probably rates an 11 on a scale of 10. Vocals are top notch and the song is traditional gospel all the way through with a slow, bluesy feel.

That Was Good

  1. That Was Good Maggie Bell 3:05

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I can’t find ANYTHING about Maggie Bell anywhere online other than about two songs, so I haven’t much to say other than I like this traditional slow song from 1970.

HalleluYah Anyhow

  1. HalleluYah Anyhow Rev. Oris L. Mays with Rev. Clay Evans & The AARC Mass Choir 5:22

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Always one of my favorites, Rev. Clay Evans had a way of finding great singers to work with him.  Here is the late Rev. Oris L. Mays singing “HalleluYah Anyhow” with Rev. Clay Evan’s AARC (African American Religious Connection) Mass Choir.

I Can’t Feel At Home

  1. I Can't Feel At Home The Loving Sisters & Their Sons 4:22

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Gladys McFadden & The Loving Sisters began recording in 1962 and continued to record until 1978. They embraced the new sounds of the emerging ’60 music like wah-wah guitar and funky tempos, early on. They are known for their gospel songs that sound like secular soul recordings. In this case they breathe some new life into the traditional song, “I Can’t Feel At Home”.

Gladys was the primary lead singer and wrote almost all of their material, often addressing social matters. She also produced many of their albums. The 1974 album, “The Loving Sisters and Their Sons”, from which this cut is from, is considered one of their finest recordings with songs with lots of wah-wah guitar and funky grooves at various tempos.  ‘I Can’t Feel At Home’ has both a southern gospel sound and quartet arrangement.

He Will Stand By Your Side

  1. He Will Stand By Your Side Rev. Cleophus Robinson 4:40

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Cleophus Robinson was born March 18, 1932 in Canton, Mississippi. His mother, Lillie, was a well known gospel singer in the region. In 1948, he moved to Chicago, where he sang at churches, as well as appearing with the Roberta Martin Singers and Mahalia Jackson.

In September 1949 he made his first recordings for Miracle Records. as Bro Cleophus Robinson. He then relocated to Memphis. After graduating from high school, he began a weekly radio show, The Voice of the Soul.  By 1956, Robinson’s career had stalled. A year later, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, working at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church as pastor for over 40 years. In 1964, he started a gospel television show that ran for 20 years. He was often referred to as “The World’s Greatest Gospel Singer”.

He toured Europe in 1969. and released his biggest hit, “Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up.” The single enjoyed crossover success with a white audience.  In 1975, he appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and in 1980, he sang at the White House.  Rev. Robinson died in St Louis Mo in 1998.

Try Jesus

  1. Try Jesus Dr. C.L. Johnson 2:28

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 I love these old, raw, acapella call and response gospel songs. Doesn’t get more basic or more spirit filled than this. For the congregation, the rule seem to be “pick a note…any note will do.”  You might notice that the song sounds and feels a bit reminiscent of “He’s a Battle Axe“.  If you did, you’re right…just wait until the second verse at 1:20.

Dark Day in Jerusalem/Calvary

  1. Dark Day In Jerusalem Dorothy Love Coates 1:52

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Well, I’m a day late with these two songs but what the heck.  Easter gospel isn’t a fun subject, but Dorothy Love Coates and The Gospel Harmonettes do put some energy into their song, “Dark Day in Jerusalem”.

 

  1. Calvary James Cleveland and the Voices Of Tabernacle 3:58

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James Cleveland’s “Calvary” however, is pretty dark, but a remarkable piece nonetheless.  The tempo is purposely slow and plodding, the chords are minor and when the choir comes in as backup when James starts singing the verse (1:56), it is as sad and as close to vocal moaning and wailing as you can get.  I love the rawness of the song.  No attempt to over produce it or to polish it…the voices are rough and strident, but it’s just what the song calls for.

Your Blessing Is In The Making

  1. Your Blessing Is In The Making New Jerusalem Baptist Church 4:38

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From 1988, another fabulous, big choir song from Jeffery LaValle’s New Jerusalem Baptist Choir.  This song has it all.  Starts slow and works it’s way to a wonderfully energetic ending with a great walking bass line.

Jesus Will

  1. Jesus Will Alexis Spight 8:33

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Alexis Spight sings an updated version of James Cleveland’s “Jesus Will” at the 2014 Mt. Zion Stellar Awards Weekend in Nashville, TN.  In 2012 Alexis came in 2nd in Season 5 of BET’s “Sunday Best”, a gospel version of “American Idol” hosted by Kirk Franklin.

And if you like the song, here is a wonderful video of the choir from the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover MD performing the song.

Ain’t No Grave Hold My Body Down

  1. Ain't No Grave Hold My Body Down Sister Rosetta Tharpe 2:54

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe was soooo kewl.  In the 40’s and 50’s this woman was on the cutting edge of fusing gospel with blues and rock ‘n roll.  With her great guitar style (sometimes slightly out of tune…not sure if by design or not) she sang some wonderful gospel songs.

This song has an interesting background.  It was written in 1935 by a 12 year old white boy named Clyde Eli who had tuberculosis.  Story goes that after his family prayed for him one day he spontaneously began to sing this song.  His version of course was a pure southern gospel version and he didn’t record the song until 1953.

In 1946 Sister Rosetta got a hold of the song and turned it into her own version with a bluesy barrel house roll style led by her wonderful guitar lead.  This cut was recorded in 1956, live in England as part of a tour called “The American Folk Blues Festival”.

If you like this, you’ll LOVE seeing her perform “Didn’t It Rain” at the same live performance that was filmed on the platform outside an old train station near Manchester England.  Her guitar playing and facial expressions are priceless.