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SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - Vernessa Mitchell

Vernessa Mitchell’s slow and slinky version of “Silent Night” is a great way to close the holiday season.

For our final SHOUT! of 2022, one more off-beat gospel Christmas song. If you loved Top 40 radio in the late 1970s, you remember High Inergy, an all-female R&B quartet that had a couple of Top 10 hits, “You Can’t Turn Me Off” and “Love is All You Need.” Their moment to shine, alas, was short-lived and they were dropped by Motown after their second album sold poorly.

Member Vernessa Mitchell, who had grown up the daughter of a minister, returned to the church, worked for a ministry in California and served as a minister to music on weekends. After several years, her former Motown producer, Kent Washburn, called – he’d had a born- again experience. Washburn remembered the soft-spoken Christian singer and asked if she wanted to sing gospel. And that’s how Vernessa Mitchell ended up singing gospel with a definite beat with songs like “Reap (What You Sow),” “This Joy,” and “Be For Real” ending up on both the gospel AND dance charts.

And somewhere along the way, she found herself in the studio recording this smooth and silky version of “Silent Night” ... which sounds to me like a great way to close out the year.

2252 Vernessa Mitchell - Silent Night.mp3

MUSIC: “Silent Night,” The Essence of Christmas, Vernessa Mitchell, Side 2, Track 2 (Dec. 25, 2022)

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.