The Negro Spiritual

“Emitt Powell and the Gospel Elites” Records
Coming Home and includes Gospel-Spirituals

Bay Area based Emitt Powell and the Gospel Elites recorded a CD at home for the first time in June, 1999; the album is entitled, Coming Home. Along with stirring gospel songs, the Elites also recorded touching gospel renditions of two spirituals, “Wade in the Water” and “I couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray.” Powell himself conducted the Elites during the performing of the latter song.  The special coming home recording session was a part of the AfroSolo blues, jazz, and gospel program. The selections on the CD are strong and reflect the Elites’ musical abilities to bring an audience to its feet. The album will be released by Quicksilver Gospel before Christmas.

Powell, who was exposed to Negro Spirituals early in life in the Methodist Church in the South, recorded a variety of spirituals on an earlier CD, God is Great, 1997.

In a move that caught us off guard, Powell and the Gospel Elites opened its segment of Powell’s 1999 Annual Mother Day celebration with two spirituals. For that occasion the group sang “Wade in the Water” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

“Emitt Powell and the Gospel Elites” will leave the Bay Area for an extensive European tour on November 28, 1999; opening in Italy. The gospel group will return home on January 3, 1999.


Abide With Me:
A Collection of Spirituals and HymnsFeaturing 10 New arrangements of Moses Hogan and works by: Boatner, Morris, Deas, Moore, Hall and Lyte

Compact Disc Review:

A very engaging CD, full of variety is “Abide with Me.” I can not list all of the composers; however, I must mention a few: Edward Boatner, arranger of “Give me Your Hand, “My Good Lord Done Been Here,” “Good News:” Fredrick Hall’s “Yonder Some Day;” Undine Smith Moore’s “I Just Come From the Fountain,” and, among the living, Robert L. Morris’ “He’s Sweet, I Know,” and, finally, the great composer/ arranger and choral director himself – Moses Hogan, who conducts the Moses Hogan Chorale; he lends a fresh rhythmic and harmonic balance to what some people call “these old songs.” In my humble opinion, in the hands of the Moses Hogan Chorale, these interpretations and performances inform the heart and the mind. As we approach the upcoming holidays, many choirs will be practicing, trying to get all the right notes, and that is good, but the music Moses Hogan performs on this CD demands the same kind of discipline. You will be rewarded by purchasing this compact disc because you will hear some great singing versus the standard “hollering” we are accustomed to hearing today. I also recommend Moses Hogan’s other compact disc, “A Home in that Rock:” a collection of spirituals and songs of faith. These are commissioned works by choral organizations across the country. Very briefly, it contains the great sacred hymn, “Stand By Me,” by C.A. Tillery, arranged by Moses Hogan and concludes with his “Life Still Shines,” which utilizes a narrator with the choir. I regret that space and time do not permit me to go into further depth, but in conclusion, add to your CD collection, “Abide With Me” and “A Home in that Rock. Consult your newspaper for the upcoming November 20th performance of the Moses Hogan Chorale.

JohnPatton, Jr.,
Retired Professor Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta, Georgia

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