Pastor T.L. Barrett & the Youth for Christ Choir / Pastor T.L. Barrett

Like a Ship...(Without a Sail)

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Pastor T.L. Barrett led a youth choir out of Chicago during the late '60s and early '70s, just a few years after he got on the straight and narrow path, which may help listeners understand the unique power of the material on Like a Ship... (Without a Sail). Self-released by Barrett in 1971, it communicates many things, foremost being adoration and praise and, on the title track, the lost, aimless feelings that were undoubtedly shared by many a youth in the late '60s. Barrett got help on arrangements from some of Chicago's best studio hands, Chess/Cadet maestro Gene Barge, bassists Phillip Upchurch and Richard Evans, and drummer Charles Pittman. The opening title track is a moving piece of progressive soul, closer to Rotary Connection than Edwin Hawkins -- Barrett's vocals evoking Stevie Wonder singing in the style of Donny Hathaway -- and the choir is powerful and recorded well. A gem of contemporary gospel, much more obscure (at least outside of Chicago) than it deserved to be.

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