Monday, June 23, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Rev. James Cleveland
Artist:Rev. James Cleveland
Song:In God's Own Time (My Change Will Come)
Album:James Cleveland Sings With The World's Greatest Choirs
When you listen to any of today's hot contemporary gospel artists, you have to remember that the sound of contemporary gospel started with Rev. James Cleveland. He was born Dec. 5, 1932 in Chicago. He was a boy soprano at the Pilgrim Baptist Church. The minister of music was the legendary songwriter Thomas A. Dorsey. The pianist at the church was legendary songwriter Roberta Martin. At puberty his voice changed to deep and gruff. He continued to sing but concentrated on the piano. In 1950 he joined The Gospelaires as pianist and arranger. That didn't last long but Martin hired him to work with her as a songwriter. His big break came in the mid-50s when Albertina Walker hired him to work with the legendary gospel group The Caravans. He was a temperamental guy so he would bounce around various groups but he kept returning to The Caravans. As Cleveland's reputation grew, he finally signed as a solo artist with Savoy Records in 1962. He would remain with Savoy for most of his career. He eventually moved to Los Angeles and started the Southern California Community Choir and also founded the Gospel Music Workshop Of America. Cleveland wrote many songs that are considered standards of gospel music today. And he also wrote more complex arrangements that incorporated other styles of black music. Savoy has released so many James Cleveland comps that it's impossible to make any sense of them. I can't seem to find a detailed discography. Rev. James Cleveland died of a heart attack on Feb. 19, 1991 at age 59. He was a true legend of gospel music. Here's Rev. James Cleveland performing Where is Your Faith with the Metro Mass Choir.