Shirley Caesar’s 40 Years In Music

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[Black Star Music]

She calls herself the singing evangelist and after 40 years of both singing and preaching, that is just about as accurate a de scri ption as one can make of her.

This year Shirley Caesar marked 40 years as a solo artist by releasing her 42nd album. Her first solo LP “l’ll go” was released in 1967 after she had left her group the Caravans to pursue a solo career.

This latest CD is a collection of Shirley Caesar’s previous hits like “Sweeping through the city” “Hold my mule” and “Old Apple tree.” She proves that after 40 years singing, her voice has not lost any of its power and character. Her distinctive ways of starting a song, almost like a sermon is ever present. As this CD was recorded live, expected a lot of audience interaction in the form of claps, cheers and “Amens.” 

The CD also features other gospel singers. Patrika Worthan appears on the powerful ballad “Praise your way through.” Joe Caesar, the lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of joy, also joins Caesar on three selections. You do not have to be saved to appreciate the message and musicianship in this CD. It invokes so much emotion and captivates any listener. This CD was co-produced by Caesar’s longtime organist Michael Mathis along with Caesar and Bubba Smith.

Caesar has been recording since she was 13 years old in order to support her family after her father’s untimely death. But her breakthrough came when she joined a gospel group from Chicago, The Caravans, when they were minus a member and needed a replacement.

Shirley Caesar has not stopped singing ever since. She continues to tour and to give sermons with the same energy that saw her burst into the industry. Today her and her husband are co-pastors at Mount Calvary Word of Faith’ church in Raleigh, NC.

Ocen Allimadi is The Black Star News’s music editor and can be reached at [email protected]

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