I love this song. EVERYONE goes through hard times, but young black kids growing up in urban setting can have it really hard, so when these young men and women sing “You’ve been in this place long enough, and your mountainside has been rough…the struggle is over for you”…it goes right to my heart.
- The Struggle Is Over Youth For Christ 7:52
The Youth for Christ Choir, led by T.L. Barrett, was an approximately 40-member ensemble of children ages 12 to 19, which grew out of his Tuesday night weekly choir meetings.
T.L. Barrett is a complicated figure. Context colors perceptions of the man. To many on Chicago’s South Side, Barrett has been known for more than four decades as an activist and pastor, an influential figure in the city’s black community, and an active participant in numerous projects and initiatives intended to improve social and economic conditions on the South Side.
In the 1970s, Barrett’s congregation included many noteworthy Chicago-area musicians, such as Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire, Donny Hathaway, and Phil Cohran. Barrett, recording as Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir, released the album Like a Ship (Without a Sail) in 1971. The album featured instrumental contributions from Phil Upchurch, Gene Barge, Charles Pittman, and Richard Evans (of Rotary Connection). It was reissued by Light in the Attic Records in 2010 to critical acclaim and praise from musicians such as Jim James and Colin Greenwood. Barrett also released several further albums of music over the course of the 1970s, as well as discs of sermons; he also recorded as Rev. T.L. Barrett.