Without The Lord

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.


  1. Without The Lord King Louis H. Narcisse 2:51


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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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[3]

In South San Francisco the Mt. Zion movement began with a small prayer meeting,”[2][3] 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.

Source: Wikipedia

Just A Little Talk With Jesus

I was preparing another song to post this morning when this song started to play and it quickly grabbed my attention right from the intro, so I thought I’d post this song instead. I noticed this great song was composed by Cleavant Derricks. Always one to recognise good song writers, I Google him. What an interesting history.  Everyone has a story!


  1. Just A Little Talk With Jesus Dr. Charles G. Hayes & Cosmopolian Church of Prayer Choir 6:48


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Actor-singer-composer Cleavant Derricks began his career writing Gospel music in Nashville, Tennessee. His songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Bonnie Porter, Dale Evans and Dr. Charles G. Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir.

Along with his father – a Baptist Minister and gospel composer – Cleavant wrote a gospel album, Satisfaction Guaranteed, which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

As the years progressed, Cleavant went to New York City to pursue an acting career. Creating the role of James Thunder Early for Michael Bennett’s Broadway production of Dreamgirls, Cleavant received a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award. He also won an LA Drama Critic Circles Award for the vocal arrangements.


I’ve Come To Praise His Name

A nice uptempo song from one of my all-time favorites, Rev. Clay Evans.

  1. I've Come To Praise His Name Rev. Clay Evans & The Ship 3:33


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While researching this song I did come across some disturbing information about Rev. Evans.  Seems that back in the 60’s or so, Rev. Evans made an album (TWO SIDES!!) of a homophobic sermon/rant he gave.  What bothers me the most is Rev. Evans was one of the giants of gospel music and owed a lot to his contemporary, the GODFATHER of Gospel Music, Rev. James Cleveland who was gay and how tragically died of complications due to AIDS.  “The Church” is so good at sowing hatred at times.


Climbing Up The Mountain

This goes back a bit to 1976 (sounds like yesterday to me, but do the math…that’s 40+ years ago!).  It has a nice down home country flavor to it, even though the choir hails from Nutley, NJ!  Nice guitar accompaniment. Nice dynamics by the choir too.

  1. Climbing Up The Mountain Rev. Lawrence Roberts & The Angelic Choir 2:20


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Heaven Is My Goal

“Back in the day”, the two biggest recording labels in gospel were Savoy Records and Malaco Records.  Savoy Records was started by Herman Lubinsky in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey and specialized in jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. 

Many of the label’s black artists believe Lubinsky grossly underpaid them for their work. Tiny Price, a journalist for the African-American newspaper The Newark Herald News, said of Savoy and Lubinsky: “There’s no doubt everybody hated Herman Lubinsky. If he messed with you, you were messed. At the same time, some of those people, many of them Newark’s top singers and musicians, would never have been exposed to records if he didn’t do what he did. Were it not for Lubinsky, all the hot little numbers, like Buddy Johnson’s “Cherry”, would have been lost. The man may have been hated, but he saved a lot of our history for us and for future generations.”

Malaco Records, originally started in 1960 as a booking company, got into recording gospel in the late 70’s, and then acquired Savoy in 1986 making Malaco/Savoy THE gospel labels.  The album “Heaven Is My Goal” by Dr.Charles G. Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir of Chicago was Savoy’s first gospel release in 1979.

This song is VERY similar to the old gospel classic, “Trouble In My Way” that I have posted several versions of in the past.  After listening to this, check out the links to other versions of “Trouble in My Way”.


  1. Heaven Is My Goal Dr.Charles G. Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir of Chicago 4:41


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James Cleveland  – “Trouble In My Way”

Perfect Praise – “Trouble In My Way”

Castro Coleman  – “Trouble In My Way”


Don’t Take Your Spirit

In the early days of gospel, the radio was THE medium for getting the music to the eager masses.  Powerful clear channel AM radio stations could be heard for several hundred miles at night when smaller stations that would otherwise interfere with the signal had signed off for the day. (When I was 9 or 10 years old I used to listen to great jazz late at night on “The Harley Sandwich Radio Show” from WBAL in Baltimore (which ran 1958 – 1974) from while lying in bed here in Massachusetts with my little rocket radio [see image] ).

“Back in the day” Saturday nights were BIG gospel radio nights, and one of the best known choirs was Luvonia Whittley & The Corthinthian Temple COGIC (Church of God In Christ) Radio Choir.  Starting in 1988 Ms. Whittley’s served as host of the Chicago based radio show on WYCA and WRGB “Gospel at Its Best” until 2013 and rightfully earned the title “Chicagoland’s Radio Minister of Music”.


  1. Don't Take Your Spirit Luvonia Whittley & The Corthinthian Temple COGIC Radio Choir 6:54


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Lord Give Me A Patient Spirit

I learned a few days ago that Rev. James Cleveland wrote just over 300 songs in his lifetime. It is amazing how few of those are well known; most of the titles were foreign to me. So, I’m going to start rooting around to find some of these “lost” Cleveland songs.  Not all will be great I’m sure…if they were they would be well known classics…but you never know with gospel music.

Today’s offering is from the 1975 album titled “Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir”.  This was one of the first choirs Cleveland directed through the 70’s and 80’s.


  1. Lord Give Me A Patient Spirit Rev. James Cleveland & The Southern California Community Choir 4:19


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You Know Me

Today’s offering is from a 1980’s album titled “Rev. James Cleveland Presents John Springer and Bread”.  Throughout his life, Rev. James Cleveland worked hard to give talented young gospel songwriters and performers opportunities to learn and excel.  This album is just such an example.  Cleveland’s Gospel Music Workshop of America is his living legacy and even today provides a vehicle for songwriters, musicians, choral directors and producers to come together to learn, support each other,  and share skills and ideas on traditional, contemporary and emerging gospel music.


  1. You Know Me John Springer & Bread 7:06


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Christ Want To Come In

Some nice traditional gospel from the early ’80s.  My guess is this choir is from the Gary/West Bend part of northern Indiana.  Being as close to Chicago as those cities are, I’m sure there is a lot of Chicago influence on this choir.

  1. Christ Want To Come In Indiana State Mass Choir 5:35


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I’ll Get Home Someday

  1. I ll Get Home Someday Rev. Maceo Woods & The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir 4:36


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