You Been So Good – The Gospel Imperials ,”Heaven”



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The CD begins with the live recording of “You Been So Good.” Mr. Holman seems to be at his best while singing a ballad and this song is no exception. Some may compare the vocals on this song to The Cantons. However, any similarities are strictly coincidental. For, The Gospel Imperials have a sound that is certainly unique and is in no way an attempt to mimic another group.

“See My Way Through” is the next song on this CD. This mid-tempo song will have you tapping your feet and moving your head from side to side. The background harmony on this song is one of the best. The instrumentation is just right. It is safe to say that on all of the songs the musicians never overpower the vocals.

The next song is “Send It On Down.” Yes, this song has been recorded by numerous artists. The Gospel Imperials has just updated the arrangement and added, what we describe as, that Huntsville, Alabama, touch to it. Meaning, it has a down home feel to it. Very little instrumentation, with drums that appear to resemble foot tapping in that “ole wooden church.”

“I Know I’ve Been Born Again” is another ballad. It is followed by “I’ll Be Free” and “You Brought Me.” The next song is “Tis The Old Ship Of Zion.” No, this is not the Jubes’ version of this song. One would have to admit, however, that there are resemblances to the Jubes. This is another song that showcases the background harmony. Now, this one will remind you of gospel quartet songs from the 60s and 70s.

The eighth song on the CD is “Do You Know Him.” This is an updated version to a very traditional gospel song. This is another song that really showcases all of the vocal talents of the group. The guys have added little variations to the lyrics and an upbeat tempo to make this song their own. This one should get plenty of airplay.

“Heaven (I Want To See Him)” is the title track. This is the song “Oh, I Want To See Him.” It was most recently recorded by Lee Williams and The Spiritual QC’s. In this instance, The Gospel Imperials have added to the lyrics in a way that does not take away from the well know lyrics, but at the same time focuses on Heaven. The original lyrics to this song do not contain the word Heaven. Of course, there is no disputing that Heaven is the place this song references. So, The Gospel Imperials have just made it clear for all that Heaven is the place where we will see Him.

The final track is “Sign Me Up.” This song has a country music arrangement to it. You may think that you are hearing the steel guitar on this one. This is another song that should get much airplay on gospel and country music stations. – Gloryland Gospel Music.

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Madrigalian Passions: “Come away, come sweet love”–by John Dowland



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Live, unconducted performance by Cantores Musicæ Antiquæ, prepared by Anthony Rooley and presented at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, Fl on April 15, 2007.

Members of the ensemble:
Mary Kelsay and Lyndsey Thornton, sopranos
Ray Chenez, Tim Galloway, Reginald Mobley altos
Greg Decker and Sean Linfors, tenors
Jason Hobratschk and Micheal Murphy, basses

Jeffery Kite-Powell, director

Cantores Musicæ Antiquæ [Singers of Early Music] was formed in the fall of 1989 with the intent to perform music from 1200-1650 in a historically informed manner. The group consists of eight to twelve singers, often one on a part, and includes undergraduates, masters, and doctoral students. Some students are voice majors, while others study music education, choral conducting, theory, or musicology.

After our inaugural concert, my friend and colleague, Douglass Seaton, sent a letter to Dean Bob Glidden praising the ensemble, as seen in this excerpt:

“There is no question that this was by far the best early-music performance I have heard since I came to Florida State. Indeed, it was perhaps one of the best three or four musical experiences I have had in Tallahassee, and having recently been to England and heard some of the finest early-music choirs in the world, I would have to say that the Cantores Musicæ Antiquæ last night were as fine as any of them.”

Following our performance at the Florida American Choral Directors Association at Rollins College, Winter Park, in 1994, the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Miami (Jo-Michael Scheibe), and the Artistic Director of the Miami Bach Society (Donald Oglesby) co-wrote the following lines to Dean Jon Piersol about our performance:

“It was truly an outstanding performance of the highest professional caliber, worthy of comparison to groups like the Tallis Scholars. The standing ovation accorded the group by the members of ACDA testifies to the strength of the ensemble’s performance. We [. . . ] hope you can make it possible for these singers to be heard on recording and in concert throughout the nation. They bring credit to the choral music activities of FSU and our state.”

Indeed, the ensemble is often referred to as Tallahassee’s “Tallis Scholars,” one of England’s premiere vocal ensembles. Our local newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, has referred to the group as “FSU’s heavenly Renaissance choir.”

Two full-length concerts per year are common for this group of singers, and they have performed for the American Musicological Society regional conventions in Lafayette, La., Tuscaloosa, Al, Tallahassee, Palm Beach, and New Orleans (twice), the National Theory Society convention, the national convention of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, the International Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel Conference, the International conference on “John Eccles and His Contemporaries: English Theatre and Music in London circa 1700,” and for the opening of the exhibition from the Victoria & Albert Museum at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach; twice they were broadcast on National Public Radio’s Millennium of Music.

Many of the singers from earlier years are currently professors, performers, or administrators at colleges and universities around the country and abroad, including (those of which I am aware) Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Wisconsin, Australia, Iceland, and Norway.

JEFFERY KITE-POWELL, professor emeritus of The Florida State University College of Music and director of the Early Music Program (1984-2013), edited and contributed to “A Performer’s Guide to Renaissance Music” (IUP, 2007), edited and translated Michael Praetorius’s “Syntagma Musicum III” (OUP, 2004), and edited the second edition of “A Performer’s Guide to Seventeenth-Century Music” (IUP, 2012). He served as president of Early Music America (1998-2001) and was awarded the Thomas Binkley Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Collegium Director (2003). On his retirement, colleagues and former students from across the country contributed to a book entitled “Hands-On” Musicology: Essays in Honor of Jeffery Kite-Powell (Steglein Press, 2012).

It Could Have Been Me – The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi, “Not Gonna Shut Up”



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The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi – Not Gonna Shut Up
Audio CD Release Date: July 12, 2007
The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi are among the greatest singing groups in popular music history. Their smashing harmonies and the leads of Archie Brownlee not only influenced numerous gospel ensembles, but such secular artists as Ray Charles. Their origins date back to the ’30s, when Archie Brownlee (Brownley in some accounts), Joseph Ford, Lawrence Abrams, and Lloyd Woodard formed a quartet. They were students at the Piney Woods School near Jackson, Mississippi. They began as The Cotton Blossom Singers, and did both spiritual and secular material. The quartet sang on the school grounds in 1936, then were recorded in 1937 by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. After graduation, they decided to become professional singers and for a time performed under dual identities; they were the Cotton Blossom Singers for popular songs and The Jackson Harmoneers for gospel. They became a quintet when Melvin Henderson joined.
When Percell Perkins replaced Henderson in the mid-’40s, they became The Five Blind Boys. Oddly, Perkins, who doubled as their manager, was not blind. They made their recording debut for Excelsior in 1946, after meeting label owner Leon Rene in Cleveland. They recorded for Coleman in 1948, the same year Joseph Ford was replaced by J.T. Clinkscales. But when they joined Don Robey’s Peacock label in 1950, the Five Blind Boys became superstars. The single “Our Father” was a Top Ten R&B hit, and they became a prolific ensemble, recording 27 singles and five albums for Peacock through the ’60s. Brownlee died in New Orleans in 1960. His riveting, chilling screams and yells were among gospel’s most amazing. Perkins left the group soon after becoming a minister. The list of replacements included Revs. Sammy Lewis and George Warren, as well as Tiny Powell. Roscoe Robinson took over for Brownlee, and was assisted by second lead Willmer Broadnax, who was also a masterful singer. The Five Blind Boys continued through the ’70s and ’80s and into the ’90s, though Woodard died in the mid-’70s, and Lawrence Abrams in 1982.
Track Listing:
1. Not Gonna Shut Up
2. It Could Have Been Me
3. Lift Him Up In Praise
4. When Praises Go Up
5. God Is Always There For You
6. Full Time Job
7. I Never Knew Happiness
8. Wait On Jesus
9. You Better Run
10. Won’t Have To Cross Jordan Alone
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