Mighty Clouds of Joy

Band members               Related acts

- Paul Beasley -- tenor vocals 

  Elmo Franklin -(RIP 2008) -- bass vocals (1960-)

- Ermant Franklin Jr. -- tenor vocals

- Willie Joe Ligon -- lead vocals (1960-)

- Johnny Martin (RIP 1987) -- tenor vocals (1960-)

- Richard Wallace -- baritone vocals (1960-)

- Wilbert Williams -- tenor vocals  (replaced Johnny Martin) 




- none known




Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Truth Is the Power

Company: Myrrh

Catalog: MSB-6681

Year: 1977

Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record):
 VG+  /VG+

Comments: reissue of the 1977 ABC set

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 5452

Price: $7.00


Yeah, this is a Gospel album, but at least to my ears its simply impossible to distinguish 1977's "Truth Is the Power" from more secular offerings by such Mighty Clouds of Joy contemporaries as Harold Melvin and the Blues Notes, or even The O'Jays.


Produced by Frank E. Wilson and associates, the fact this is their most commercial sounding effort is both a plus and a minus.  Among the positives, lead singer Joe Ligon never sounded as good with tracks such as 'There's Love In the World (Tell the Lonely People)' and 'The Truth Will Set You Free' showing that he was every bit as talented as better know vocalists like Eddie Levert or even Teddy Pendergrass.  The LP's instantly recognizable Philly International moves (yeah, ABC released it), also deserved credit for exposing the group to a far wider audience.  Unfortunately, at least a couple of the tracks ('Music Is My Way of Life' and 'Like a Child') were pure filler, appealing to neither Gospel faithful, or soul audiences.  Maybe not their creative zenith, but still a good place to start ...


"Truth Is the Power" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) There's Love In the World (Tell the Lonely People)

2.) That's What Friends Are Made Of

3.) Music Is My Way of Life

4.) The Truth Will Set You Free


(side 2)

1.) God Is Not Dead

2.) I'll Keep My Light In My Window

3.) Listen People

4.) Like a Child




Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Live and Direct

Company: ABC

Catalog: 1038

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: promo sticker front cover

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5451

Price: $10.00


Aware of this group's secular roots many soul fans want nothing to do with The Might Clouds of Joy.  Their loss since propelled by Joe Ligon's growling lead vocals these guys were massively talented.  Moreover, during the mid and late 1970s they flirted with a far more commercial sound that was easily as appealing as their non-secular competitors.   Produced by Frank Wilson, 1978's "Live and Direct" featured a mixture of live and new studio material.  I have no idea how much post-production work went into the four side one live selections, but the results were simply killer.  I love The O'Jays original, but their cover of 'Love Train' wiped it out, while 'Stairway To Heaven' (not the Led Zeppelin song), and the Gospel shouter 'I Came To Jesus' were just as impressive and catchy.  The latter was truly eye opening.  I challenge anyone to sit through it without wanting to get up and shake their booty.  In fact the only concert side disappointment was a needlessly drawn out and gimmicky 'Shout'.  Of the new studio tracks 'Look At the Bright Side' and Carnival of Life'' were okay, though their over orchestrated disco-tinges were clearly meant to attract a younger audience.  That left the stark ballad 'Where Is Your Faith' as the stand out performance.  ABC also tapped the LP for a single in the form of 'Look On the Bright Side' (Part 1) b/w 'Look On the Bright Side (Part 2) (ABC catalog number AB-12322).


Here's a link to YouTube clip showing the group in action. 



"I Came To Jesus"


"Live and Direct" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Love Train   (Kenneth Gamble - Leon Huff) - 5:08

2.) Stairway To Heaven   (Kenneth Gamble - Leon Huff) - 6:16  

3.) I Came To Jesus   (Willie Ligon) - 6:18

4.) Shout   (O'Kelly Isley - Ronald Isley - Rudolph Isley) - 8:06


(side 2)
1.) Look At the Bright Side   (T. Mcfadden - Larry Brown) - 5:03

2.) Carnival of Life   (Al McKay - Phillip O'Kelsey) - 6:20

3.) Where Is Your Faith   (Jerry Peters) - 5:39





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