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SHOUT! Black Gospel Music Moments - Shirley Caesar

They call Shirley Caesar “The First Lady of Gospel Music” for good reason – just listen to one of her great story-songs, “Hold My Mule,” and see if you don’t agree!

Shirley Caesar is our greatest living gospel singer, still going strong, still touring, still wrecking churches and auditoriums in her 80s. Like so many gospel artists, she came from abject poverty and began singing with the legendary Caravans while still in her teens.

Eventually Caesar left to begin a solo career – one that’s spawned a host hits, including “Don’t Drive Your Mama Away,” “No Charge,” “Faded Rose,” and my favorite “Hold My Mule.” Along the way, she’s won numerous Grammy and Dove awards, been inducted in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, performed at the White House, and even served on the Durham, North Carolina city council.

Shirley is also gospel’s greatest storyteller, spinning long sermons and stories and combining them with irresistible old time gospel music. “Hold My Mule” has been known to go on for 30 minutes in concert – and the last time I saw her in a Waco church, I wished it could have been longer still!

2305 Shirley Caesar - Hold My Mule.mp3

MUSIC: “Hold My Mule,” Shirley Caesar, 45

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.