Mighty Clouds of Joy Review - ChristianMusic.com
Mighty Clouds of Joy Bio * Mighty Clouds of Joy Lyrics * 2nd Review

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Mighty Clouds of Joy Review of "I Want to Thank You"

Mission Goal: "The Lord is real and there for us, and that commitment has only grown stronger over the years. People today seem hungry for much more than entertainment. with all the terrible things happening in the world now, their souls are looking for nourishment...for something to believe in..." - Joe Ligon.

"There are different flavors of songs for different people". THE MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY are determined to continue to allow a wider audience to hear the Gospel message. They have made a career out of the simple act of reaching people through the Gospel. While progressive in sound, their core beliefs shine through to any audience.

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The Mighty Clouds of Joy formed in 1955, and started recording in 1960, and have been going strong ever since, through "triumphs and tragedies, successes and near failures," becoming living legends in the process of serving Jesus Christ through their unique musical gifts, which have been showcased in their years of singing Gospel music, taking the genre "to places it seldom, if ever had been."

The original Mighty Clouds of Joy members were made up of members from three different Los Angeles Gospel groups. Today, the current membership is made up of two of the original group, Joe Ligon and Richard Wallace, plus Johnny Valentine, Ron Staples, and Michael Cook, who have all been singing together for some time. All members of The Mighty Clouds of Joy have similar backgrounds, beliefs, and attitudes concerning their faith and their musical efforts. "We all had similar backgrounds -- we were all raised in the church, and we all had a like mind about the kind of music we wanted to do. And we've remained dedicated to each other and the quality of the music all these years." - Joe Ligon.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, their music has transcended and endured many musical trends, popular with our society. "We're a versatile group, and we've done many styles of music over the years, but our roots are in the traditional style," comments Joe Ligon. Another one of the well-loved characteristics of their music which added to and expanded their message is Joe Ligon's singing style, which was inspired by a radio preacher, Reverend C.L. Franklin, who had "this preaching kind of thing in his style. I did this preaching kind of thing in his style to go along with our singing. That was different from what anybody else was doing, and it became our trademark," Joe Ligon explains.

They were the first Gospel group to add bass, drums, and keyboards to the traditional solo electrical guitar, commonly used by Gospel music. They also were the first to add a full rhythm section. In the 1970's, they had great success in adapting Gospel music sound in the popular disco dance genre. They were the first Gospel group to be invited onto the secular show, 'Soul Train,' where they performed their hit, "Mighty High" They continued to evolve in their presentation of their own unique style of Gospel music.

This changing, unique Gospel style music which they evolved, pioneered, and created, was first called at one point, "funkified" Gospel, and has been gradually accepted as a standard part of Gospel music. Though their style of Gospel music was at first criticized by tradional Gospel music lovers, The Mighty Clouds of Joy found that their unique kind of innovative Gospel music reached out to a wider and wider audience, taking The Mighty Clouds of Joy and their Gospel message to performances in such places as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Astro Dome, on nearly every major T.V. show in America, including "The Grammy Awards"

Over their years together, they have earned 10 Grammy Award nominations, of which they won three. Joe Ligon and Richard Wallace, were recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Gospel Superfest in Jacksonville, Florida. "They are some of the most incredible artists of all time. Real soul stirring gospel artists," comments actor/singer Clifton Davis, host of this year's Gospel Superfest television show.

The Mighty Clouds of Joy's new album, I Want to Thank You, is a project that they helped to produce for the first time, offering a delightful, exciting range of Gospel music, something for everyone, reaching a large audience to share their love, hope, and faith in Jesus Christ in a most uplifting, encouraging, personal way. Performed in their well-developed, unique gospel quartet style, along with the strong inspiring, gifted, soul-stirring vocals of Joe Ligon and friends, the sound is sometimes soulful, sometimes exuberant, but always perfect to express the feeling / mood of the song. They inspire their audience with both traditional style Gospel songs, which transform the listener "into a roof-raising church service, and contemporary Gospel songs, with elements of R&B thrown in, with fresh, high-spirited pulsating rhythms."

In creating this wonderful CD, I Want to Thank You, The Mighty Clouds of Joy enlisted the help of some major composers / producers in today’s contemporary Gospel / R& B / music ranks. Fred Hammond, Steven Ford, J. Moss, and Paul Allen of P.A.J.A.M., Sanchez Harley are all on board, along with William Becton, who all contibuted in a variety of songs, working with Joe Ligon, Ron Staples, Eddie Alford, Johnny Valentine, and Alphonzo McCain to provide the kind of music that The Mighty Clouds of Joy can reach an audience that enjoys not only traditional Gospel, but the more contemporary Gospel sound as well.

Whether traditional or contemporary, all these songs have a very strong Gospel message, offering both a great introduction to Gospel music for those new to the genre and also a most gratifying listening experience for avid Gospel music lovers, as their music is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is exciting and inspiring for their expanding audience.

Samples of the Songs on I Want to Thank You CD

* * * +1) HOOK UP - An energetic praise song, done Gospel style. A favorite of this reviewer. Composed by Michael Robinson, Kyle Richardson, Mason Weathersby. Produced by Sanchez Harley - Backup music cooks with pulsating, syncopated rhythm carried by horns, piano, organ, guitar, and together with the drums keep the energy cooking throughout the song. Fine energetic vocals by Joe Ligon and The Mighty Clouds of Joy.

Lyrical Samples: 1) Several years ago, I came across a friend....He said he'd lost his family and he had no peace within....Tried to regain his strength and heal his pain....I said don't worry my friend, let me recommend...

Chorus: I got the hook up! (oh yeah!) Jesus!! (Oh, yeah, he's a friend of mine). I got the hook up! (let me tell you about my friend) Jesus! (If you don't know him, you need to get to know him) I love the name Jesus! (yeah, Whooo!)

2) Now let me tell you about my daily walk...When I get weary and my path is dark....When my way gets blocked and I lose my course...I pray and I'm connected to my power source. Chorus

Spoken by Joe Ligon: (If you trust the Lord, everything will be okay, He'll make everything right for you. Come on felllas, go to church with me).

Bridge: You can't tell it like I can, what He's done for me... If you're looking for a friend, he's the one I recommend...Jesus.

2). * * * + GOD CAN - Composed by Paul Lawrence Kelly, and produced by Joe Ligon, Ron Staples, and Alphonso McClain. Described as an old school, extended workout Gospel song with traditional, soulful vocals, and nicely arranged Gospel music, using piano / organ/ keyboard chords in various slow - fast rhythms, nice backup melody by guitars, easy drums.

Joe Ligon comments on this song: "God gave mankind a lot of wisdom, but there are just some things men cannot do. But nothing is too hard for God."

Lyrical Samples: There are things, that man can do...He can sail through the air in his plane...though man can do a lot of things, he is limited....Now tell me...

Chorus: Can you catch the wind, can you make the world spin...Can you pull the sun down...Can you raise man from the ground...Oh no, but I know who can....God can....God can....God can.....God can.....

There's a master for everything, for every kingdom...There's a king, though man can do just about anything...God is still the Master, and He's always gonna be the King.

(There was a man that came to this earth....Over two thousand years ago....this man had power, He had power...More power than any man... He can heal the sick with just a touch of His hand... Let me tell you what elese this man can do....)

3) * * * I WANT TO THANK YOU - Composed by Johnny Valentine. Produced by Joe Ligon and Johnny Valentine. Rousing Gospel praise song, that helps the listener be thankful as well, for all the blessings the Lord has given, and remember all the trials He has seen them through.

Lyrical Samples: I know You've been blessing me, since my childhood days... No matter how hard I try, I just can't count the ways...You're always a prayer away....You're always a prayer away.... Through everyone one of my ups and downs...A friend in You I truly found...Oh Lord! I want to thank You.

Chorus: Oh Lord! I want to thank You, Oh Lord, I want to thank You...Well You woke me up this morning, started me on my way...Oh Lord, I want to thank You, Oh Lord, I want to thank You...

4) * * * SEEKING THE FIRE - Composed by James Moss, and produced by PAJAM. A snappy, contemporary Gospel song, reminding us to depend on the Lord's strength through his Holy Spirit. Christians need to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit in order to serve Jesus in their daily walk. We need to make time with the Lord in prayer, quiet time, and studying His Word. Moss's style of having rhythmic contemporary backgrounds is evident in interesting patterns using plucking of strings, short rhythmc draw bow action on cello, etc. short measures of broken chords of electric guitar/ piano keyboard, all held together by the syncopated rhythm of percussion, and supports the vocals very well. Vocals alone carry the melody, a fine job by Ron Staples and background vocals by The Mighty Clouds of Joy and J. Moss himself.

Lyrical Samples: I don't want to offend anybody...but listen to me as I state my pleas...I been saved for a while now...But I'm feeling like something is missing...don't get me wrong, I'm happy like oooh whee... I think I need to be closer, I want the fire to be burning in me.

Chorus: Seeking the fire, seeking the fire... I wanna go higher...Lord let the Holy Ghost come and reside with me...Seeking the fire, seeking the fire...I never retire, until I'm living with the Holy Ghost fire in me.

I wanna be like the disciples...When they went into the upper room...They stayed for a while now...And they prayed like they were on a mission..Don't get me wrong, I have blemishes...But He renewed me... I think I need to be closer, I need the fire to be burning in me.

5) * * * + HE WILL DO IT - by Michael Robinson, Kyle Richardson, Mason Weathersby and Sanchez Harley. Produced by Sanchez Harley. Main vocals powerfully, inspirationally sung / spoken by Joe Ligon and Dottie Peoples. Slow Waltz time feel to the music. It is a song that would feel right at home at a church service. Chords of piano, guitars hold the rhythm, along with drums, plus embellishments all add umph to the wonderful heartfelt vocals of Joe and Dottie Peoples. A favorite of this reviewer! A song to bolster one's faith and courage during little and big trials. Their soulful, spirit-filled performances speak to and encourage the listener, no matter what emotional condition one is in. Great traditional Gospel Music.

Joe and Dottie start the song by speaking the introduction with much feeling, taking turns, sometimes commenting on what the other has said. Main script: (God is a good God, and He's a merciful God... there are times when things don't always go right in our lives...We're worried about this and that, sickness is on us, our children are acting up.... But if we would just fall on our knees and cry out to God, He'll come and see about us... He honors the prayers of the righteous, if you would just trust and obey...Keep the faith and hold on to His unchanging hand; He'll be there I know He will.

First Chorus: He will do it (Just ask Him and you will receive) He will do it (No matter what the problem may be) He will do it (He will take away all your pain), He will do it (He will do it over and over), He will do it over and over again.

Lyrical Samples: The doctor said it's over, prepare, for there is no cure....Once again your faith is being tested, yes it is, you don't know how much more you can endure....You're wondering if your prayers were in vain, and how you're gonna make it through the rain. Bridge: Well, my God is looking down, He can take the pain and turn it around, just believe and call out to Him.

Second Chorus: He will do it (My doctor's name is Doctor Jesus, and I know He'll fix it), he will do it (How do I know it I tried Him along time ago) he will do it (when it gets too hard for me, its just right for Jesus), He will do it (Yes, he'll take away all your pain), He'll (God is a man who will not lie. He said He'll be there, through the storm and the rain),Yes He did. (I don't care what the problem is, my God can fix it).........................

6) RIGHT HERE WAITING, (COME SEE ABOUT ME) - Composed by Marc Harris / Bebe Winan. Produced by Marc Harris. R & B infused in this Gospel song, with "blues-inflected vocals and guitars, in a swing style gospel beat."

Lyrical Samples: Who do I turn to when all hope is gone...Who can I call on, when there's nobody home...Feelin' forsaken not a love one I see...I'm askin' You, Jesus, please come see about me.

Chorus: I'm right here waitin', come see about me....heart anticipating, come see about me. My soul look back and wonders, How I made it over...Come hear about the love of my life.

7) * * * + JESUS MADE A WAY FOR ME - Composed by Alphonse McCain. Produced by Alphonse McCain & Joe Ligon. A joyful, lively praise song. Fast swing beat, lively drums, guitars really cook, along with the horns, organ, piano and keyboards. Another favorite of this reviewer.

Lyrical Samples:

Chorus: My Jesus made a way for me....Oh, my Jesus made a way for me....when I was down and out, I couldn't see my way...My Jesus made a way for me.

1) When I was lost, and couldn't see my way... My Jesus made a way for me...I want to thank Him, for showing me which way to go, My Jesus made a way for me...

You know what He did, He brought me out of darkness, into the marvelous light...set my feet on straight street, now I can see the light... I want to thank Him for showing me which way to go....

8) * * * HE CHOSE ME - by James Cleveland, produced by Sanchez Harley. Lovely quartet harmony, smooth musical, harmonious support of organ, piano, guitars, easy drums and keyboards. Great dynamics. Soulful vocals by Joe bring this hym-like gospel song to life.

Lyrical Samples: (Someone asked: Am I good enough to be used?..) Use me Lord in Thy services, draw me nearer every day, Lord I'm willing to run all the way...If I stumble while I'm trying, don't be angry Lord, let me stay....I'm willing to run all the way....

I give You my heart, I give You my soul, I give You my life, complete control.

Chorus: He chose me, He chose me out of all that He could have used....He chose me, He chose me, he can use me 'til He use me up.

Thank you Jesus, for choosing me.. .....use me up, I don't mind......

9) THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN - Composed by Evelyn Simpson-Curenton. Produced by Eddie "Spanky" Alford. Song has pretty musical accompaniement. Nice acoustic guitar & electric / bass guitar with keyboards, easy drums. Strong lead vocals by Joe Ligon and Ron Staples.

Lyrical Sample: Well, I gave Him my old filthy garment... He gave me a robe pure and white... Now I'm feasting on manna from heaven...And that's why I'm happy tonight.

Joy in the morning, joy all the time...I'm so happy that I have this joy, and it's mine all mine.

Chorus: The windows of heaven are open...Blessings are falling tonight...There is joy in my heart, there is joy in my soul...Jesus made everything right.

10)* * * + BAD NEWS GOOD NEWS- Soulful, bluesy Gospel, with a rock beat; drums, electric guitars, organ, keyboard all cook in the background. Vocals by Joe Ligon, in top form using his singing / preaching style, backed up by the marvelous voices of The Mighty Clouds of Joy.

The three verses deal with three national horrors, events considered real bad news. The Columbine High School killings, The drowning of five children in a bathtub in Houston, and the 9/11 attacks in New York. Despite all the awful things that are happening around us, believers can hold onto the hope in Jesus Christ, who is coming back to call up His believers, riding on the clouds, bringing good news, and reuniting loved ones.

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Lyrical Samples:

Chorus: Bad news everywhere, Bad news everywhere... Bad news everywhere, I'll be so glad when Jesus comes.

2) There's another thing fellas....when I think about my hometown in Houston Texas...There was five beautiful little children one day....Playing around in the house and the devil got busy...Yes he did...One by one that woman took those five little children...And they all had Bible names...A little girl named Mary, a little boy named Luke....and another one named John.....but oh, she took them, all five of them...She'd taken them one by one...and drowned them in the bathtub.......that oldest little boy wanted to live so bad...But he couldn't figure out what was goin; on....but they all lost their lives, you know what that was. Chorus.

Let me close this thing now...One of these days Jesus is coming back...Looks like I can see Him riding on a cloud....Telling His people, "Y'all get ready...It's getting ready to be good news." Good News, Good News! Looka here, Jesus will call his people... Those five little Houston children are gonna rise up on wings on a eagle, those children in Colorado are going to get up, all my loved ones that have left me here......

11) * * * +NEW CREATURE - Composed by Paul Allen / James Moss. Produced by PAJAM. Exciting composition mixing elements of old time gospel with some interesting use of organ/piano sound, steady beat of snare on first & 3rd beat of song, creating a real hand clapper / foot stomper!! Another favorite of this reviewer. Interesting vocals have both elements of traditional and contemporary Gospel. Chorus joins in on the second part of the phrases in 1 & 2, after Joe sings 1 and 2 alone.

Lyrical Samples:

1) If any man be in Christ, He is a new creature....Old things are passed away, and all things are new...Put away what's in the past, and reach up ahead....Forget about old things, because the past is dead.

2) But what you need to do, is take the time to think about...Your life He saved, 'cause, if He did it for you yesterday...He can do the same thing today.

Joe Ligon: (I feel my hip coming on...Let's take this thing to church... come on!)

Faster tempo, both Joe and backup vocals: I am a new creature, I am not the same...I am a new creature, old things are passed away.

12) * * * HE DIDN'T BRING ME THIS FAR - Composed by Terrell Gatlin. Produced by: Joe Ligon, Ron Staples, and & Alphonso McCain. Solumn, classic Gospel song, with piano and organ, keyboards, guitar, light drums, nice chord progressions. Has great dynamics.

Chorus: He didn't bring me this far, just to leave me alone... .For I come, come this far by faith, Oh Lord.... If I trust him and never doubt, God will surely bring me out. He didn't bring me this far, just to leave me alone.

Now I see a lot of mothers and fathers...Struggling and straining, trying to make ends meet...But what they didn't know, is to keep trusting Jesus...Is more than you can ask for at His feet....if you be strong and hold on, keep the faith....Don't ever stop running this race. He didn't bring me this far, just to leave me alone... Pesonal testimony about his stroke in Oklahoma city, done in his singing/ preaching style, with chorus singing: "He didn't bring me this far, just to leave me alone."

Reviewed by Julie Carr.


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