Shirley Caesar Celebrates 40th Anniversary With New Live CD/DVD
Gospel’s First Lady, eleven time Grammy winner, Shirley Caesar, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her solo career (she left gospel’s most-popular female group of the 1950s, the Caravans in 1966 after an eight year stint) with her 43rd album “Still Sweeping Through the City”. Recorded at the 300 member Mt. Calvary Holy Church Caesar co-pastors in Raleigh, NC this past July; the Shu-Bel/Light Records artist reached deep into catalogue of songs and dusted off 12 of her favorites. Among them are her sermonette “Hold My Mule.” When the album that originally featured it, Live in Chicago, was released in 1987 it shot to #1 and stayed on the Billboard gospel album sales chart for an astounding 110 weeks – just over two years. “Hold My Mule was #1 for 52 weeks on Billboard,” she confesses. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do that again with the new cd? We’re just gonna wait and see what God is going to do.” The CD hits stores on November 6, 2007.
In the meantime, what Caesar did was dust off some of her rarer classics from the 1970s such as “Faded Rose” and a medley of “Peter, Don’t Be Afraid”, “Nobody But You, Lord” and “Teach Me, Master.” Also from that period is the heart-rending “How Many Will Be Remembered?” Considering that 87th Airborne is stationed in Fayetteville, NC and there’s another military base in Columbia, SC, a lot of Carolinians are military families. “I wanted to bring in some soldiers,” Caesar says. “I wanted a flag and wanted us to salute the flag because so many of our young men are being killed in Iraq.”
From the 1980s, Caesar resurrected “Jesus, I Love Calling Your
Name”, “He’ll Do It Again”, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm”, and
“Never.” The Mighty Clouds of Joy’s raspy-voiced lead singer, Joe Ligon, rose from his sick bed for the recording. “Joe had a triple bypass,” Caesar announces. “But God touched his body and he was able to sing with me.” That’s Joe trading notes with Caesar on a bit of “Teach Me, Master”, “ God’s Got it All Under Control” and “Sweeping Through the City.”
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