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Keeping the Faith : Gospel and Spiritual Soul Update.


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My first feature on this issue last year triggered some interest , positive feedback and a degree  criticism  and debate.  I’ve provided an update  on the wide range of music available under this genre  that might appeal to Soul fans , but have decided to let the music speak for itself . Ive sought to provide a wide cross section of Black music styles that are still classed under a the label of Gospel , many of them have moved a long way from the traditional format of Gospel that I wonder if the phrase  has any meaning any more , Spiritual Soul music seems to work for me and can embrace music that can reach the Soul without traditional evangelising that can be a turn off for some.Im also keen to promote UK artists and labels that have a thriving contribution towards Faith Music.


Radio Shows

Most of this music can be heard on the Solar Radio’s  Sunday Morning Gospel show . ( 6 - 8 am )  It seems to have grown in popularity enough for them to allocate live DJ;s most weeks instead of  recorded shows .  (They sometimes provide playlists ) Whilst its called the Gospel Show be under no illusions the music provided spans  a number of musical genre’s  and indeed very little of it is ‘traditional ‘ evangelising Gospel as many people imagine . They  travel from early Soul , through to the seventies , eighties and beyond , with most focus on  R n B , Neo Gospel , House , Jazz and contemporary praise music from the US and UK . Its an eclectic and brave approach to faith music and I cannot recommend it enough. Weekday DJ Tony Monson must take most of the credit for this  , Richard Marzetti does equally good job with occasional slots.  Similar stuff  can also be heard on allocated slots on the following shows.

Richard Marzetti  Solar Saturday Morning Gospel slot 7.30 on his 6-8 show.

Tony Monson  Monsons Mid Morning Mayhem . Weekday mid morning show.

Andrew Ackerman Saturday 8 - 10 .

Richard Marzetti Friday 3-6 pm

Ray Bradshaw Show 


Robert Banks

Shaun Evan’s show/podcasts also features a Gospel slot on 365 Radio.



                                                                                        Keeping the Faith on the Dance Floor : Some Dancer’s

Robert Banks - A Mighty Good Way taken from his 1967 The Message LP on Verve and well established on the Northern Soul scene  since being played at the   Twisted Wheel.


Mighty Clouds Of Joy . Mighty Clouds of Joy.  1975 from their Kickin . LP on ABC .

Opening with a catchy guitar riff, that invites in brass and flute before the boys arrive led by Joe Ligon . Since forming in  their  LA roots in 1960   they have gone on to produce  26 albums and 34 singles , and with various line ups they went on to become Gospel royalty. They fused Gospel with slick dance moves and outfits common amongst  Motown and Stax line ups. Between 1974 - 77 they released 4 albums on ABC records . Kickin , Its Time , Truth is the Power and Live and Direct. I could devote a whole post just on their material that come out of those years. Their ABC years saw their first 2 albums produced at the legendary Philly Sigma studio’s and its evident in this track with that classic Philly disco sound taken from Its Time LP  and written by producer and flutist David Crawford. (Frank Wilson was brought in the produce the third ABC LP) The success of these records resulted in them being the first Gospel group to appear on Soul Train .


Mighty Clouds of Joy




Helping hand-arthur miles.

I  think I caught this on Pete Meadows  show  and Ive struggled over whether to include this 1991 gem from his  A Love for All Seasons LP . Strictly it cannot be called a ‘Gospel’ record but there is no denying it delivers a heartfelt  case for a ‘Helping Hand’. A Crossover hit in the making. Now aged 68  Miles is the nephew of the Jazz legend Wes Montgomery and son of a Californian night club owner . He went on to study music and journalism and developed a live career backing the likes of Edwin Starr, Tina Turner ,Jimmy Bo Horn, before moving to Italy where he continues to perform and record. 3 albums and 18 singles predominantly on New Music International . You can catch him at my favourite weekender , North Lancs Soul Festival , Morcambe  18th - 20th May .

Main Ingredient . Rolling Down the Mountain side . Title track of the Main Ingredients 1975 album featuring Cuba Gooding. This cut from the pen of Jaqueline Dalya Hilliard & Leon Ware.Im indebted to Solar DJ Richard Marzetti who played this gem recently Co written by Leon Ware and taken from their 1975 album of the same name from their Cuba Gooding Snr   period just prior to founder Tony Silvester leaving the group.  Opening with a melodic string start  , pitches into a haunting groove of reassurance and faith . Sublime vocals and equally the measure of  Everybody Plays the Fool and Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely. ‘ It reached No.7 in the US RnB Charts at the time.


Contemporary / Neo Spiritual  Soul

Sophie Lloyd feat. Dames Brown. Calling Out .Classic Records 2018

Heard this on Kev Hill’s Freedom Principle Jazzy show on Solar. Various vinyl and CD versions available . Veteran London based  dance DJ Sophie Lloyd teams up with Dames Brown a  Detroit vocal trio . (Check out their 2013 ‘Super Fly’ single for some contemporary retro Soul  ! ) Lisa Cunningham, Jael Coston and Teresa Marbury. Apparently this has been going down a storm on club dance floors around the UK and beyond . A fantastic hands in the air anthem. I love the black and white video that starts in what looks like a church ,takes it to the streets , and goes back to the church  for an uplifting celebration of life.


Erica Campbell "Well Done" (2017)

Erica , was the older sister in Mary Mary ,one of the most commercially successful Gospel crossover acts . She’s released two solo albums and 7 singles  including ‘Help ‘ is a worthwhile praise venture with rapper Lecrae , but I think this shows off her versatile talent  and crossover appeal rather better. This is an awesome modern Neo Soul spiritual track , she's got SOME voice.

LeJuene Thompson . Oh La La. , This track from her 2008 Metamorphosis album it total class and deserves to be up there with  the likes of  Jill Scott and Jean Carne. Its content borders on a secular/ spiritual homage to something that has inspired her life , but there is no doubting her gospel pedigree. Check out her Brighter Days” for a Neo Soul intro to Faith music.

Lisa McClendon's 'Pause' .

Born Edletha Lorraine McClendon the daughter of a Florida preacher , she has released 3 quality albums since 2002. This track comes from the latest Reality released on Blusoul 2009. A sublime example of Neo Gospel soul  and a search for that peace we all need sometimes.

Helen Baylor - Can You Reach My Friend. Another very contemporary Gospel artist seeking comfort for a friend. Helen was an LA  child star who went on to support Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin and became a  backing singer for Chaka Khan. Sadly her life fell apart due to bad relationships and drug misuse , but she found support in the church .She’s released 6 albums since 1990 , and has performed in prisons and women shelters. Check out her Sold Out more uptempo track . Or “Oasis” from her Full Circle LP.


You Dont Know My Story - LeJuene Thompson    A real emotive piece of self disclosure from Lejuene Thompson performed lived. No apologies for this powerful message of strength and survival.  Pure quality.




Jekalyn Carr "  You Will Win

Motivational speaker  , Author , She’s  had Grammy Award nominations, two Billboard nominations, five Stellar Gospel Award nominations and a GMA Dove Award nomination, and soon to be actress. singing from the age of 5 and preaching since she was 13 and she is still only 20 years old. This 8 min live declaration of hope and self belief wont appeal to everyones tastes in its unapologetic   homage to  her God. What ever your views on  the faith  there is no denying the strength of her voice and command of the stage and audience. She currently  is tearing up US Gospel scene and I think we will be hearing a lot more of her. 


                                                                       House’ of the Lord. : A selection of spiritual soulful House Tracks.

Deep Swing featuring Kelly Jones . Mighty Mighty Love. Generate Music 2007

Deep Swing appear to have been a production duo from LA  ,Eric Wikman & James Donaldson , between 1995 and 2010 they produced  an enormous catalogue of Soulful Spiritual House predominantly on their own Generate Music label. They probably follow an already successful formula laid down by predecessors . Pull off a funky / hypnotic dance riff, pull in a Soul Diva ,.. preferably with a Gospel background and  deliver  uplifting anthems of survival , hope and  salvation. The ‘Diva’s included Donna Washington (Im a Believer )  , Linda Jackson. (Life Up Your Soul and Spirit) and Kelly Jones (Mighty  Mighty Love ) Im providing the latter but its worth checking out any of the above and more . This is One of those ambiguous tracks that could be secular or spiritual but its happening either way


Joaquin Joe Claussell* – Unofficial Edits, Overdubs & Unreleased Remixes Part 1 Look at Your People   .

The original version of this comes from the Crowns of Glory  1976  ‘God Save the Children “  second LP on Peacock . That version likes this has echoes of Voices of East Harlem but I have to admit I prefer this version , but it drifts into a more churchy vibe towards the end. Joaquin (Joe) Claussel  is a veteran  New York DJ/Producer whose Spiritual Life label has been producing a diverse and often global catalogue of quality dance music since 1996.*



Passionardor - "Everlasting Love" (JC's Distant Music Mix )  UK producer and songwriter Mark Moore teams up with vocalist Laura Vane. Brighton based Laura is both Solo singer and member of the UK/Dutch RnB The Vipertones. 



Faith  Britannica

                                                                                                      Some recommendations from the thriving UK Gospel scene.

The Sound Principle - Because You Love Me Old School Mix,





Qanah - I'm Holding On   Qanah‘s empowering track ‘I’m Holding On’ was written and produced by The Sound Principle. With vocal performances by a collective of talent including: Shaun Escoffery, Paul Lee, True Solace, plus a thought provoking rap by Solid Rock, ‘I’m Holding On’ is a fine example creative collaboration by some of the UK’ finest soul voices.

Lavine Hudson - A Little Sensitivity (1991) from her Between Two Worlds 2nd  and final album on Ten Records.

For many Lavine could have been our Whitney has she not tragically died aged 55 after a long battle with Lupus after releasing seven singles over 3 years. Personally I think its tragic that she peaked in the 1980’s when her superb voice was often ruined by the drum machine productions common to the era. She had charisma and spirit and crossover potential . Her message was more subtle than the American gospel scene but no less felt

Sarah Téibo - Like A Child (Official Video) ft. Tehillah Daniel & Jason Nicholson-Porter     Like A Child’ is the first single taken from Sarah Téibo's forthcoming album ‘Keep Walking’ – set for release summer 2018..



Sharlene Monique - You

Her debut EP ‘Destiny’ (released April  2018) combines emotive, soulful-tinged vocals with inspiring songs of empowerment, love and self-acceptance. Charlene-Monique is an award-winning singer-songwriter, who began singing in church aged 4.  She won Best Inspirational and Music Video Of The Year at the Jump Music Video Awards 201 and recently nominated for Best Video in the UK Gospel Awards.


Thats the lot. Feedback and suggestions welcome.

Keep the Faith

Cool Notes







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