Bluesy Praise Gospel Music Of The Canton Spirituals & I’m Not Uneasy About Dem Singing About ‘That Name’ Either

Who would have thought that one of my favorite gospel groups is the Canton Spirituals?  …Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers too. 

I guess I’m mixed-up that way, raised Catholic, don’t know the bible like my ABC’s, I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual, and I love the Canton Spirituals.  Let me try to explain.

I don’t know which reason prevails in my attraction to the good gospel music of the Canton Spirituals.

I know that since its Southern Gospel it appeals to me, off the back  I am from South Louisiana.  It also appeals to me because the group presents gospel music in a bluesy kind of way.  I get the blues too.  The songs tell stories of trials on Life’s Road and achieving victory through faith.

Faith In The Bay Canton Spirituals
Photo – Faith In The Bay Canton Spirituals

At a time when I was seriously ill, and during the trials of caring for my mother, I found myself listening to the Canton Spirituals.  The stories that the Canton Spirituals tell are from the perspective of living humbly and in lack.  They tell stories of endurance and unshakable faith.  The emotions of the lead singers exude through their sermon-like, bluesy delivery.

I grew up impoverished, but I was fortunately well-loved by my mother.  I later lived lavishly, but life returned me back to humility.  The Canton Spiritual songs have always found a place in my heart, through these transitions, expressing exactly what I felt in some of my lowest moments, leaving me inspired.

I have to admit something that may not sit well with many people. 

At this stage in the evolution of my faith, I do not see Jesus, as I was taught or brainwashed to believe.  I do not see Jesus exactly as my mother did.  As an educated and spiritual, not religious man, I cannot accept aspects of the white Jesus that has been used viciously against Blacks.  This image is still used strategically today.  I am too knowledgeable and discerned to embrace the traditional image, and misinterpreted teachings of Jesus.

I do not take most stories in the bible literally either.  I interpret most of it metaphysically, and symbolically.  I believe in the most important aspect of the Bible and of Jesus.  That is to Love.  I never viewed the concept of Love as complex, requiring verbatim knowledge of scripture and verses.  Love is quite simple and doesn’t require many rules.

Though I even pray and praise in the name of Jesus, I am still unsettled with the image of Jesus that I was taught in Catholicism, the one that appears on prayer cards, or the one on the picture that hangs in my room.  It was once my mother’s, so I keep it.

I am not fully settled on Jesus, but I am madly in love with the concept.  I embrace being uncomfortable because it leads me to search for answers even further.  I will likely search until the day that I physically die.

fyoozrdu Canton Spirituals
Photo – Fyoozrdu – Canton Spirituals

As this relates to The Canton Spirituals, they praise the ‘name of Jesus’ quite a bit in most songs.   They praise that holy name.   In spite of my uneasiness with the propagated concept of Jesus as I was taught, I am not offended when the name of Jesus is called in praise, sincerely.

Why should I be?  I am not offended by anyone’s faith as long as it’s is compassionate, sincere, and not hateful.  I am not offended by any belief that does not impose on my right to believe as I choose.

So, I can listen to ‘the name Jesus’, in the Canton Spirituals’ songs, and interpret him as I believe.  I do this with most gospel songs, as I similarly do with New Age meditation music.  But with meditation music there aren’t any vocals, so my imagination goes wild in meditation, prayer, and spirit.

My - Spirit - DC - 15100124402697
Photo – My – Spirit – DC – 15100124402697

The music of the Canton Spirituals is appropriate for today especially.  The messages deflate struggle and strife with uncontainable faith and determination.

Their songs are considerate of the downtrodden, those who are impoverished.  The pandemic has revealed in a slap-in-the-face way that many of us are disproportionally deprived, especially Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans.   Many are dealing with sickness, dis-ease, hurt, affliction, conflict, and financial stability.  Many may not know what to do or know the words to say to form a solid prayer.

A friend once told me to ‘listen to praise music, when you don’t know what to pray for’.

I suggest that you listen to the Southern Gospel praise of The Canton Spirituals to become uplifted and inspired.  Don’t let the blues fool you or deceive you.  Despair is an illusion that only manifests if you embrace it.

Instead, praise your higher power in the confidence of knowing that you too will be victorious through these times.  Praise Jesus if you want to.  Place your faith in your own image of God, without offense to others praising in theirs.  Just remember to place your faith in some power greater than yourself.  And please, be sincere in your praise.  Kevy.

The Canton Spirituals are an award-winning gospel recording group and are regarded as pioneers in the genre of traditional gospel music.

Founded in Canton, Mississippi in 1943, the original Canton Spirituals were Reverend Arthur Lee Jackson Sr., Reverend I.S. Watkins, Claude Nichols, Warren G. Ward, Isaac Bolton, Eddie Jackson, Theo Thompson, Roscoe Lucious, and founder Harvey Lee Watkins, Sr. (December 5, 1929 – November 16, 1994).

As of 2016, the group is fronted by Watkins’ son, Harvey Watkins, Jr., and consists of Cornelius Dwayne Watkins, Billy Voss, David Curry, Merlin Lucious, Shannon Lee, Rodrick Jones, and Antoine Porter Sr.

On November 1, 2012, they released a single, Keep Knocking. The album, Keep Knocking was released on December 3, 2013. Read More – The Canton Spirituals – Wikipedia

My Favorite Canton Spirituals Videos

Hattiesburg American Canton Spirituals
Photo – Hattiesburg American Canton Spirituals
I Made It featuring Albertina Walker – The Canton Spirituals, WOW Gospel 2000 – Jan 23, 2014 – Eleanor Davis

The Canton Spirituals Memories When Will I See You Again – Aug 31, 2012 – dpastor3604

Mississippi Poor Boy – The Canton Spirituals, “Live In Memphis” – Oct 26, 2014 – aaronhamptongospelbroadcast

Canton Spirituals – I’m in Your care – Oct 1, 2008 – bigbofy

The Canton Spirituals – Heavenly Choir – Sep 9, 2011 – Mike Faison

Hello Mother, The Canton Spirituals, Live In Memphis Copy – Aug 31, 2012 – dpastor3604

The Canton Spirituals – Father I’m Coming Home – Mar 20, 2009 – bigbofy

The Canton Spirituals – Clean Up – Sep 12, 2008 – bigbofy

VGSG Presents: Canton Spirituals – Live In Memphis 1 VHS – Sep 24, 2015VGSoundtrackGuy

This concert film captures The Canton Spirituals, one of the most respected bands in traditional gospel music, performing a dozen songs. Included on the setlist are such fan favorites as “I’m Coming Lord,” “Fix It, Jesus,” “Hello Mother,” and a very special rendition of “Certainly Lord” performed by the original line-up of the group. Experience the full concert uninterrupted for the first time on YouTube! Song List: Ride This Train I’m Coming Lord Heavenly Choir Strugglin & Strainin Certainly Lord (featuring the Original Canton Spirituals) Fix It Jesus Hello Mother Mississippi Poor Boy Jeremiah I’m In Your Care He’s There All The Time Rise Above It All

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