Archive for the ‘Back in the Day’ Category

The Solo Debut of Tony Wilkins

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

HesgreatTony Wilkins is considered by most as an architect of the choir sound from the late 80s well into the 90s.  As a composer and musician, Wilkins gave life and breath to LA Mass Choir working with the likes of Donald Taylor and Laythan Armour to create hits as Love Lifted Me, That’s When You Blessed Me and Grace.  Grace would find new life some ten years later being covered by Bishop T. D. Jakes and the Potter’s House Mass Choir and winning two Stellar awards.

Today, the California native finds himself leading the saints in praise at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Los Angeles and Full Gospel Baptist Church in Compton, CA.  With a career that spans 30 years, Wilkins shows no signs of slowing down and has just released his debut solo project He’s Great, which is available digitally.

Keith Pringle And The Pentecostal Community Choir 35th Year Reunion Concert

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Minister Keith Pringle was inspired to form and organize a community choir in the Los Angeles area while sitting in a nightly musical at the Gospel Music Workshop of America .  The choir would bear PCCthe name, the Pentecostal Community Choir and would record their first album at Reverend James Cleveland’s  Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church.  That first album would yield such hits as True Victory, Trees and the ever popular Call Him Up (If You Confess the Lord).  With 7 recordings, multiple award nominations,  numerous concerts and appearances across the United States, the Pentecostal Community Choir now prepares to celebrate their 35th Year with a reunion concert scheduled for May 24, 2014 at the West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

I’ll Take You There Tells Mavis Staples Story

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

TakeyouthereChicago Tribune music authority Greg Kot grants us insider access behind the music and into the lives of one of the premiere family groups in Gospel music as told through the lens and perspective of music icon Mavis Staples.    I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway tells the story of Roebuck Staples, his life in Mississippi and relocation to Chicago, the birth of his children and their use of singing as a daily family activity after Pops returned home from a long day of work.  Kot takes us on an open ended journey covering 60 years of music, beginning with Mavis’ recollections of their first performance as a group in their aunt’s church (where they had only prepared one song and sang it again as the encore) to their first recording session arranged by Evelyn Gay.  Pops bluesy guitar  coupled with their carefully woven harmonies would land them a deal with the Vee Jay label and take the group on to various travels on the Gospel highway as they are introduced to the music giants of the day including Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls,  Reverend CL Franklin and daughter Aretha,  Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan and many more.  Pops and the Staple Singers would befriend and have close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and their music would instill messages of hope and ignite passion and kindle the fire of the civil rights movement.

I’ll Take You There lives up to its title, taking us through the life changes and adjustments as the group grew in popularity, through the Gospel music years, transitioning into message music and the catapult into the heyday of the Stax and Muscle Shoals jubilee. We get to experience Pervis’ coming of age and leaving the group to pursue other interests including the management of the Hutchinson Sunbeams (who would go on to great success as the Emotions),  Mavis’ marriage proposal from Bob Dylan and her collaborations with Prince and Wilco’s Jeff Tweety, Pops’ Grammy win and BeBe and CeCe Winans pay homage to the group with the cover of I’ll Take You There.  Reading I’ll Take You There will engender a greater appreciation for the Staples and their sizable contributions to music and society as a whole.

Gospel Music Finds Its Way To The New Smithsonian Museum

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Little Lucy SmithFor a number of years, Baylor University’s Robert Darden has led the charge on preserving music from Gospel’s Golden Era via the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project.  Baylor and his team have sought to identify, record and catalog both well known and obscure recordings that make up the gospel music tradition.  To date,more than 8,000 tracks have been digitized.  The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announced via social media that the collection will be a part of the museum’s Musical Crossroad’s exhibition.

Read more about the exhibit and project here: NMAAHC Welcomes Gospel Recordings from Baylor University

New Music From Kristle Murden

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

KristleIn the 80s, Andrae Crouch gave us I’ll Be Thinking of You and introduced the world to the song stylings of Kristle Murden. AND THE WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. Kristle would go on to record I Can’t Let Go,  her solo debut for Light Records and continue a long association with the Andrae Crouch Singers (Just a Matter of Time, Jesus, Come Lay Your Head on Me, Come Closer to Me, He’s the Light) .  While we were consumed with the unexpected release of another female phenom, Howard Smith (another Andrae Crouch alum) informed us that Kristle has new music in the marketplace.  Turn it Over is the new single and it is available via digital outlets.  Especially for the GOSPELflava family, here’s a snippet:

 

Jubilee Showcase 50th Anniversary Celebrated on PBS

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Jubilee ShowcaseLong before the days of Bobby Jones Gospel, Sid Ordower hosted a groundbreaking gospel music television program that aired from 1963 to 1984 on WLS Channel 7 in Chicago featuring some of the biggest names in gospel called Jubilee Showcase. The Emmy Award winning weekly show will celebrate its 50th anniversary during a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Pledge special on WTTW, the Chicago PBS affiliate, on October 10, 2013 at 9 P.M. CST, then began to air nationally on PBS stations throughout the United States beginning in December 2013.

The pledge program, hosted by Clifton Davis will present historic footage of The Staple Singers, The Soul Stirrers and The Caravans and others.  “I love gospel music,” Davis says of his decision to host the program. “I love historic gospel music. Every time we review this on television, a new generation has a chance to be introduced to something that inspired us back then.”

March On – Mahalia, Martin and the Civil Rights Movement

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic I Have a Dream speech, GOSPELflava remembers the impact of Mahalia Jackson and Gospel Music in the civil rights movement. (more…)

EMI Gospel Celebrates 20 Years of Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Its hard to imagine that its been 20 years since Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers burst onto the scene with A Songwriter’s Point of View.  The singing aggregation was  warmly received and set a standard endearing themselves as one of Gospel Music’s most beloved artists.

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We Remember James Cleveland

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Gospelflava remembers the King of Gospel, Reverend James Cleveland on what would have been his 81st birthday.  Reverend Cleveland was born on December 5, 1931 in Chicago surrounded by the major gospel influences of all time namely, Thomas Dorsey, the Father of Gospel Music, Roberta Martin, famed gospel composer and Mahalia Jackson. It would be Roberta Martin that a young Cleveland would pattern his playing style after.

Cleveland relocated to Detroit to take on minister of music duties for Reverend CL Franklin (father of Aretha Franklin) and the New Bethel Baptist Church and later the Prayer Tabernacle Church under Reverend Charles Craig Sr.  It was at Prayer Tabernacle that James would record with the Voices of Tabernacle his first hit, The Love of God.

Cleveland signed with Savoy Records and in 1962 began a successful pairing with Reverend Lawrence Roberts and the Angelic Choir of the First Baptist Church of Nutley, NJ.  These albums produced such hits as Christ Is the Answer, So Good, How Great Thou Art, My God Can Do Anything and Peace Be Still.  James would later go on to found the Cornerstone Church in Los Angeles, Ca and his famed Southern California Community Choir and his greatest contribution, the Gospel Music Workshop of America.