Classic live performances!
William Shiekyerbouti | Westchester, CA USA | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not being a big fan of gospel (I studied classical music and have played a lot of pop and jazz too), I can say that I approached watching this as somewhat of a duty (since I play music at a church and felt I should get some more background--because a brother with whom I play church music is a big fan of the artist), so I checked this out from the library, but... I was blown away by the performances of Rev. James Cleveland's gospel choir and his own charismatic stage presence. After three decades in music, I am not easily blown away by any musicians.
This is a camera-captured experience to be had, not a studio-contrived reworking of anything. It is live and it is hot!! It rocks from the first note to the last. Check out the expressive hand direction Rev. Cleveland gives the choir and how they respond! It's uncanny. I'm sure that I would've liked to have witnessed some of his rehearsal techniques. Who knew a choir could be so expressively controlled? Rev. James Cleveland, that's who.
Highlights include the musicians backing the choir (sadly there are no credits listed for the soloists), and the three or four featured vocal soloists. Amazing. It is a musical feast so rich, tears streamed down my face by the ending, which is surely reminiscent of great black church experiences found only in America. I read up on Rev. Cleveland a bit, and he was key to gospel's popular blossoming in the U.S. The Hawkins choir is very good too. I am looking forward to watching the second disk featuring other artists, but this compilation must be worth twice the price for the Rev. James Cleveland choir alone. This is music to heal souls. Right on."