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Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - Gospel All-Stars

The Gospel All-Stars’ “It’s Me, Oh Lord,” is one of the earliest recordings of gospel legend James Cleveland.

While still a teen-ager, James Cleveland ran errands for Mahalia Jackson in Chicago and made himself available any time anywhere to play piano for the Windy City’s dozens upon dozens of gospel superstars. Eventually, he joined the Caravans and then became a star himself, both as a solo artist and as a leader of choirs.

One of Cleveland’s first recordings, however, was with Bess Berman’s tiny Apollo label around 1950. Apollo, of course, is the label that first launched Mahalia. Berman gave Cleveland some studio time and he created the Gospel All-Stars, then produced, arranged and wrote a couple of songs, including this heavily doo-wop influenced number, “It’s Me, oh Lord.” This 45 features some of the earliest recordings of Cleveland’s distinctive percussive piano-playing.

MUSIC: Gospel All-Stars, “It’s Me, oh Lord,” 45 (March 17, 2024)

2411 Gospel All-Stars - It's Me, Oh Lord.mp3

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU and the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries.

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Robert F. Darden is the author of two dozen books, most recently: Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-In to Resurrection City (Penn State University Press, 2016); Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume I: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement(Penn State University Press, 2014); Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor(Abingdon Press, 2008), Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples: Understanding the Bible by Telling Its Stories(Abingdon Press, 2006); and People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music(Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2004).