The Mighty Clouds of Joy

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Mighty Clouds of Joy

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

This discount-priced compilation is drawn from the Mighty Clouds of Joy's earliest recordings for Peacock Records, starting with their first session on September 28, 1960, and continuing up to August 1965. Although Universal also controls the ABC and Dunhill catalogs that contain the group's R&B hits of the 1970s, this collection is restricted to their more traditional early material, on which the gravel-voiced Joe Ligon leads them through familiar hymns like "Amazing Grace" and "Nearer to Thee." "Family Circle" is the same song as what is known in country music as "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." "A Bright Side (Sermonette)" is a seven-and-a-half minute peroration by Ligon that amply demonstrates his preaching side. David Walker spells the leader on his composition "You'll Never Know," and "Nobody Can Turn Me Around" has high-pitched vocals reminiscent of the Impressions, but for the most part, the Mighty Clouds of Joy's music is dominated by Ligon's emotive, cavernous voice. This is a good sampler of the group's early work, but it is not the collection you want to get if you're looking for big hits like "Mighty High."

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