Wow, I am excited about this one. 😀
On February 2, 2019, a group of wonderful musicians — namely, Cheryl Jackson, Farnsworth Curtis Reed, and Dr. Michael A. Williams — joined me at Coupe Studios to record 15+ gospel and spiritual songs from the African-American church tradition.
Some people have asked me why I wanted to do this particular set. My goal in making these Hymns for Alzheimer’s recordings is to use sacred music to kindle joyful, comforting memories for as many people with dementia as possible. I want to make it easy for activity directors and volunteers at senior residences to put together meaningful, expressive church services for their particular group, no matter what geographic or cultural background the residents have.
So, in addition to making sure I have a cross-section of songs from every denomination, I want to produce an authentic sound that people would recognize from the time they learned the songs in Sunday school or church. I hope that honoring the black worship tradition with these recordings meets that goal for African-American (and often Southern) elders.
Choices, Style, and Samples
I polled friends and ministers in black churches to get a solid list of songs that they thought elders would most recognize and enjoy, and I pulled some from my own experience. Several have become new favorites of mine. (I can’t stop singing “I am on the Battlefield.”)
Like all the other recordings, these still need to be simple enough for a sing-along, so the musicians worked with me to simplify traditional arrangements while maintaining the gospel sound. We had a blast, and I was blown away by their collective talent.
Here are a couple of rough recordings from the session. Keep in mind these are rough drafts; we’re still working on the final editing, so these are not yet ready for prime time. But I hope they’ll give you a sense of what to look forward to.
The Blood Will Never Lose its Power, by Andraé Crouch
I am on the Battlefield for My Lord, by E.V. Banks and Sylvana Bell (public domain)
Stay tuned for the final, downloadable files in a few weeks. In the meantime: Happy Black History Month!
Photo by Nycholas Benaia
3 thoughts on “Gospel Songs coming soon (listen to samples now!)”
Hi Elisa, These are great! These are standards here in our churches. I play them and hear them all the time. Your versions are so clear and well done. Perfect for your ministry. The old folks sing them all for memory. Come visit, you’ll hear some. You’ve probably noticed that searching on YouTube returns very mixed results. Often these songs are posted from somebody’s cell phone recording in a noisy service, and the quality is very poor. If you ever decide to post them there, you could get lots of hits, especially if you create a whole channel. Other standards here include Pass Me Not, Just A Little Talk With Jesus, At Calvary, We’ll Understand It Better (By and By), The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow. I understand that you have a different way to get these out through the ministry. That’s excellent too. Just my way of saying, these will be warmly received however you use them. Love to know the singers and musicians names (I assume that you’ll include those in your formal release). Best to you and Dave, and this excellent endeavor. – Doug
On Wed, Feb 20, 2019 at 1:24 PM Spiritual Eldercare wrote:
> elisa bosley posted: ” Wow, I am excited about this one. 😀 On February 2, > a group of wonderful musicians — namely, Cheryl Jackson, Farnsworth Curtis > Reed, and Dr. Michael A. Williams — joined me at Coupe Studios to record > 15+ gospel and spiritual songs from the African-” >
Doug, thank you so much! And you read my mind: I am right now in the process of figuring out the best way to get them distributed on all of the online channels (YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, etc.). We’ve got Pass Me Not coming too! Much love to you and Denise.