You Don’t Know What The Lord Told Me To Do

  1. You Don't Know What The Lord Told Fontella Bass 3:37


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

Many/most of you know Fontella Bass’ 1965 smash hit, “Rescue Me”…a HUGE hit from Chicago (oh, did I ever mention Chicago is home to some of the BEST gospel in the world??…but I digress…for now.)

According to writer Robert Pruter in his book Chicago Soul, the song “Rescue Me” emerged from a songwriting and rehearsal, or “woodshedding”, session at Chess Records.
“‘Rescue Me’ was a terrific example of the Chess studio system at its finest… One Saturday in August 1965, Bass was sitting in a rehearsal studio with producers-writers Carl Smith and Raynard Miner. They were fooling around with the song when arranger Phil Wright walked in, and the ensuing four-way jam session brought forth ‘Rescue Me’. [Billy] Davis produced the side…” Bass claimed that, although Smith, Miner and Davis had assured her that her contribution to authorship of the song’s lyrics would be acknowledged, this was never done.

Bass recorded the song in three takes at Chess Studios in Chicago. (The late) Minnie Riperton provided background vocals, and Maurice White and Louis Satterfield, later of Earth, Wind & Fire, were on drums and bass respectively. Other musicians on the record included Pete Cosey and Gerald Sims on guitar, Leonard Casten on piano, Sonny Thompson on organ, and Charles Stepney on vibs. According to Bass, the call-and-response moans heard in the song was unintentional. In an interview with The New York Times in 1989, she said, “When we were recording that, I forgot some of the words… Back then, you didn’t stop while the tape was running, and I remembered from the church what to do if you forget the words. I sang, ‘Ummm, ummm, ummm,’ and it worked out just fine.”

Here’s a YouTube video of the original “Rescue Me”…I picked this version because I LOVE the bass line in this song and this guy covers it beautifully.

Oh….so,  fast forward 30 years from “Rescue Me” and you’ll find that Fontella Bass released a GOSPEL album titled “No Ways Tired”. Today’s Song of the Day is from that album. A great Hammond B3, a great beat, a great fuzz lead guitar and a fantastic piano solo starting at 1:58 on “You Don’t Know What The Lord Told Me To Do”.

When It’s All Over

  1. When It's All Over Rev. Clay Evans & The Ship 4:08


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

The day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in 1964, construction crews rolled off the lot of the church’s future sanctuary, leaving a steel frame on the corner of Princeton Avenue and 45th Place. For eight years, that steel frame stood as a symbol of the clash between the Rev. Clay Evans, pastor of Fellowship, and then-Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who would not forgive the pastor for hosting the civil rights leader and sought revenge by hampering efforts to complete the new church. But by the time Daley’s son became mayor decades later, Evans had risen to prominence in the pulpit, gospel music and politics. His distinctive, raspy voice and gospel choir had earned international acclaim with millions of albums sold. Instead of fighting the younger Daley, Evans became one of his closest allies, bridging the gap between City Hall and clergy and empowering the black church. On Sunday, May 30, 2010, in a swan song of sorts for the elder pastor, Evans, 84, held a ceremony to mark the passing of Fellowship’s leadership to his successor, the Rev. Charles Jenkins, during a live recording of Jenkins’ first album at the choir’s helm. Jenkins said the album — titled “Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Live: The Best of Both Worlds” — bridges the two generations of ministry on Chicago’s South Side and brings Evans’ legacy full circle. It was while working as a porter at one of Chicago’s renowned music clubs that Evans discovered his voice. Instead of starting a band, he became a preacher who started a choir. Ordained in 1950, Evans and five others soon founded Fellowship, or “The Ship” as it’s known by parishioners. Evans quickly earned a reputation for his booming voice in the pulpit and choir. In 1965, the church’s choir recorded the first of three dozen albums. At least 81 aspiring ministers studied under Evans, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom Evans ordained in 1965, about the same time Jackson left seminary to march with King. A year earlier, when other churches bowed to political pressure and declined to welcome King to their pulpits, Evans rolled out the red carpet, Jackson said, but not without consequence. Richard J. Daley blocked permits and persuaded bankers to halt their loans for the new church building. Other pastors underwrote the rest of the construction, which was completed by 1973. Jackson credits Evans for shifting the mindset of African-American congregations in Chicago and in turn altering the way politicians viewed the institution of the black church. Before that time, churches were more concerned with “personal salvation over social emancipation,” Jackson said. Evans galvanized ministers to reach out to the community, he said. Charles Bowen, an aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley who helped him win his first election, recalls his surprise given the history when Evans approached him in 1990 to serve as an intercessor between City Hall and Chicago’s African-American clergy. “He felt Mr. Richard M. Daley should be given a chance and should not carry the weight of his father,” said Bowen, the former executive assistant to the mayor who retired in 2004. Bowen brokered the donation of lots for churches to develop in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Though some frowned on the arrangement, others savored the irony of the alliance between Evans and the younger Daley. Evans said he believes in restoring and preserving legacies. It’s the reason he gives for endorsing the re-election bid of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger this year despite accusations of corruption. Evans thought that Stroger, like Richard M. Daley, deserved a chance to transform the family legacy. “That’s what we do as ministers,” he said. “We wanted to be his physician. The well don’t need physicians.” It’s also the reason Evans gives for handing over the reins of his church 10 years ago before many of his peers. Evans recognized that many pastors were staying past their prime and tarnishing their legacies by doing so. He didn’t want to take away from any of the good he might have created. “If you can put it into the hands of somebody capable and committed,” he said, “it just gets better.”

He Lives

  1. He Lives Rev. Timothy Wright & Rev. Jerome Ferrell with The Lighthouse Choir. 5:07


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

Don’t let the cheesy strings on the electronic keyboard at the start throw you…it soon gives way to a mighty Hammond B3 and the song takes off from there. And talk about some vocal Olympics (starting abound 1:40)! YIKES.

Rev. Timothy Wright once said, “I thank God for the memory of the late Dr. James Cleveland. I consider him to be one of my musical mentors. He used to always tell me, he said, ‘Timothy, you don’t need a whole lot of words to make a song. Two or three words and that’ll do…long as they get the message.‘ ” Rev. Wright clearly heeded Rev. Cleveland’s advice here. This song uses all of SEVEN unique words in the 5+ minutes that it runs!
“I’m so glad He lives
I’m glad I know He lives”.

This is perfect call and response at it’s spontaneous best…and it ends up with an unexpected Holy Dance/Praise Break to finish it off!! It’s wonderful how such a simple song can be so powerful. Even if you are not a believer, you STILL come away GLAD HE LIVES!  

I’d Trade a Lifetime

  1. I'd Trade A Lifetime Rev. Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Choir 4:09


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

Another classic gospel song from Rev. Milton Brunson and The Thompson Community Choir. I’ve tried to find out what the reference to “…shake hands with the elders, the twenty and the four” in the first verse (00:50) is about, but haven’t found anything. Part of the fun about gospel music is delving into these references and learning about things I’ve never known before. I’ll keep digging.

I Found Jesus

  1. I Found Jesus Luvonia Whittley & Corinthian Temple COGIC Radio Choir 3:55


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

Luvonia Whittley and The Corinthian Temple COGIC Radio Choir. 

Born May 15, 1943, Mother Whittley holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the Chicago Teachers College, a Master’s Degree in Language Arts and Administration from Chicago State University and the Doctorate Degree in Theological Studies from Midwest College and Theological Seminary.

Retiring in 2013, Mother Whittley is acclaimed for serving 25 years as host for “Gospel at Its Best” on two of Chicago’s premiere radio stations, WYCA and WRGB, where she rightfully earned the title “Chicagoland’s Radio Minister of Music.”

Mother Whittley is known throughout the Church of God in Christ as a powerful and anointed evangelist, author, motivator and organizer. She studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and for nearly 25 years she served as Jurisdictional Minister of Music for the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Illinois (under the late Bishop Louis Henry Ford), recognized for building a music department to include close to 1,500 singers and musicians.

At present, Mother Whittley serves as Director of Christian Education for the Corinthian Temple Church Of God In Christ, where she served for nearly 40 years as Minister of Music and the visionary leader of the legendary gospel recording aggregation, the Corinthian Temple Radio Choir.

On the national level, Mother Whittley served for 25 years with the COGIC Department of Fine Arts as a Music Activities Coordinator. In 1994, she was appointed to succeed the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, and served for 6½ years as the President of the International Music Department.

It’s a Highway to Heaven (Walking Down the King’s Highway)

  1. Highway To Heaven First Church of Deliverance Choir 5:40


Copy and paste this code to your site to embed.

“It’s a Highway to Heaven (Walking Down the King’s Highway)” was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, “The Father of Black Gospel Music”, and Mary Gardner in 1954.

This recording not only has wonderful vocals, but features a classic Hammond B3 organ.  The Hammond B3 was introduced in 1955 and among the early customers of the B3 were African-American churches, whose limited finances compelled them to accept what might be seen as a second-rate substitute for a “real” organ. Fortunately, creativity escaped the limitations of technology. The sounds of the B3 were unique, powerful, and captivating, and the instrument began to be appreciated on its own terms. Gospel music recordings of the 1950s and 1960s began to accentuate the Hammond, giving the music a special sound. By about 1970, the B3s (and similar Hammond models) were embraced by all sorts of popular musicians, including rock, R&B, and jazz groups.

Chicago’s historic First Church of Deliverance Choir certainly has something to sing about. Under its founding pastor, the late Rev. Clarence H Cobbs, the First Church of Deliverance was one of the earliest African American churches to broadcast its services on the radio, beginning in 1934. It was through the weekly radio broadcasts featuring the 200-voice choir that the church became widely known as a center for Gospel music. The First Church of Deliverance “big choir” sound has been emulated by choirs across the United States and abroad.

In 2006 The First Church of Deliverance Choir made a triumphant return to the recording scene after a 16-year hiatus with God Can – Live, a 10-track set showcasing the choir’s rich traditional sound plus a few contemporary offerings.