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In the House of the Lord: Live in Houston

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Apr
In the House of the Lord: Live in Houston
Sounds like … an energetic blend of gospel and rock similar to The Blind Boys of Alabama , The Soul Stirrers, and The Williams Brothers.At a glance … though a bit long-winded at times, the Mighty Clouds of Joy deliver a rousing, revitalized set that touches on their exciting and varied musical legacy.Track ListingBeen Good to MeHouse of the LordOrder My StepsRide the Mighty HighI Need a ChurchLord, I Thank YouIf Jesus Can Fix ItKeep on Doing ItGod CanMama Prayed Us ThroughI Believe in the LordI Made a Step

Together for 45 years since starting out in the 1950s, and recording more than 35 albums since, the Mighty Clouds of Joy are truly legends in gospel music. Comparisons to The Blind Boys of Alabama are apt; both have won numerous awards, including three Grammys. Like the Blind Boys, the Clouds have shared the stage with classic artists, including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, and even The Rolling Stones. And both are considered pioneers, the Clouds being one of the first to develop contemporary gospel by fusing it with rock and soul.

Additionally, while the Clouds don't have the highly stylized sound of The Blind Boys these days, they show no signs of faltering. Frontman Joe Ligon and the remaining founding vocalists have teamed with producer Sanchez Harley (Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin) to create what they're calling "the greatest Clouds album to date," touching on the varied styles the group has dabbled in over their history.

In the House of the Lord: Live in Houston is highly energetic and varied, featuring a stellar backing band. "Been Good to Me" is a rousing kick-off to the 79-minute disc, as the Clouds push headlong into a diverse gospel collection of traditional ("Mama Prayed Us Through"), pop ("I Believe in the Lord"), quartet style ("I Need a Church"), and rock ("Ride the Mighty High"). There are some amazing vocal acrobatics on "Order My Steps," though at nearly twelve minutes, it's a bit long. Likewise, Ligon doesn't quite follow up on his early promise of "not gonna do a lot of talking." Nevertheless, the Mighty Clouds of Joy sound positively jubilant and revitalized here, building expectations of what we can hope for in their next 35 albums, God willing.

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