Shirley Caesar's records are powerfully executed examples of gospel as a means to an end, and there is no doubt that she is a dynamic performer. But her albums only tell part of the story, for Caesar is more than a performer -- she is also an explosive preacher who uses music as a way to get her message across to her audiences. This gospel sermon was delivered live in 1976, and it features Caesar in her natural habitat speaking, singing, shouting, exhorting, and stirring up an inferno of emotion at a frenzied pace that would make James Brown hang up his dancing shoes. Split into two segments, the first a little over 15 minutes in length and the second nearly nine minutes in length, Caesar's sermon is breathtaking in its onward momentum, and it makes her more mainstream album tracks seem dainty by comparison. Still, it's all pretty exhausting, and isn't exactly casual listening, so while these lost recordings certainly capture Caesar in full flight, they work best as an addendum to her standard releases.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett