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Sounds Of Blackness

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Code - OD-K-62723

Collection of Sounds Of Blackness

Sounds of Blackness, a 40-person choir and ten-piece orchestra led by Gary Hines, combined traditional African music with urban soul to become one of the most distinctive and popular contemporary gospel groups. Over the course of their career, the group won many awards, from organizations as diverse as the Grammies and the NAACP.

Russel Knight formed the group that would prove to be the origins of Sounds of Blackness in 1969 at St. Paul, Minnesota's Macalester College in 1971. It wasn't until 1971, when Gary Hines was hired as their musical director, that the group developed its own identity. Hines opened the group up to the entire community and expanded their musical scope to concentrate on all aspects of black music. He designed the group as a way to embrace all manners of African-American music and create rich, diverse music to celebrate God and the human spirit, as well as make social statements. With their new direction in mind, the group renamed themselves Sounds of Blackness.

For the first decade and a half of the group's existence, Sounds of Blackness primarily played around Minneapolis, often opening for acts as diverse as the Jackson 5 and Hampton Hawes. They frequently released their own records, which helped them strengthen their local following.

Partially by choice, Sounds of Blackness remained a regional attraction until 1989, when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the hot Minneapolis-based production team, brought Janet Jackson to one of their concerts. Jackson's enthusiastic response inspired Jam & Lewis, who were already in negotiations with Sounds of Blackness, to sign the group to Perspective/A&M immediately. Before the Perspective deal, any major label interested in the Sounds of Blackness asked the group to streamline their sound to include only gospel or R&B, or asked them to change their name to Sounds of Music; it wasn't until Perspective that they were allowed to keep their style and sound intact.

The group's national debut album, The Evolution of Gospel, was largely produced by Jam & Lewis and received strong reviews. The pair produced the group's next two records, 1992's The Night Before Christmas (A Musical Fantasy) and 1994's Africa to America: The Journey of the Drum, as well.

All of the Sounds of Blackness' first three records were successful, earning strong reviews and sales, plus several awards. Their success meant that the group could branch out on Time for Healing, which was released in May 1997. Time for Healing was the first self-produced Sounds of Blackness album, featuring heavy contributions from assistant director Billy Steele and bandleader Levi Seacer. The group followed it with Reconciliation in 1999, and landed a gig at the White House that New Year's Eve.

Album: The Evolution of Gospel (1991)


01. Chains
02. Optimistic
03. Ah Been Workin'
04. Pressure, Pt. 1
05. Testify
06. Gonna Be Free One Day
07. Stand!
08. Pressure, Pt. 2
09. Your Wish Is My Command
10. Hallelujah Lord!
11. We Give You Thanks
12. He Holds the Future
13. What Shall I Call Him
14. Better Watch Your Behavior
15. Please Take My Hand
16. I'll Fly Away
17. Harambee (Swahili for Let Us All Pull Together)


Album: Africa to America The Journey of the Drum (1994)


01. Hold On, Pt. 1
02. I'm Going All the Way
03. Ah Been Buked, Part 1
04. I Believe
05. Hold On, Pt. 2
06. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright
07. Sun-Up to Sundown
08. The Lord Will Make a Way
09. He Took Away All My Pain
10. A Place in My Heart
11. The Harder They Are the Bigger Th
12. The Drum (Africa to America)
13. African Medley_ Royal Kingdom_Ris
14. A Very Special Love
15. Strange Fruit
16. Black Butterfly
17. You've Taken My Blues and Gone
18. Livin' the Blues
19. Ah Been Buked, Part 2


Album: Time for Healing (1997)


01. Africana
02. Spirit
03. We Are Gonna Make It Through, Pt. 1
04. Hold On (Change Is Comin')
05. Love Will Never Change
06. Love Train
07. God Cares
08. Hold On (Don't Let Go)
09. Crisis
10. We Are Gonna Make It Through, Pt. 2
11. You Can Make It If You Try
12. The Blackness Blues
13. I'll Open My Mouth to the Lord-Better Be Ready-Rockin' Jerusalem-E
14. So Far Away
15. Familiar Waters
16. Time for Healing
17. We Are Gonna Make It Through, Pt. 3
18. Hold On (Change Is Comin') [Roger Troutman Remix]
19. Kwanzaa-Uomja-Uhuru


Album: Soul Symphony (2002)


01. (Prelude) Sounds of Blackness, Pt. 2
02. Heaven on Earth
03. Don't You Ever Give Up
04. Sweet Spiritual Suite in Eb, Pt. 1
05. Tears in Heaven (Ft. Ron Winans)
06. Another Day
07. Movin' On
08. Brighter Day
09. Yes We Can Can
10. Real True Love
11. Children of God
12. Sweet Spiritual Suite in Eb, Pt. 2
13. Trouble Is My Home
14. Sweet Spiritual Suite in Eb, Pt. 3
15. Obafemi
16. As Long as You're With Me
17. Life Has Meaning


Album: Unity (2005)


01. Unity
02. Heaven
03. Put the Finger On Me
04. Prelude
05. Trouble
06. Try
07. A Second Chance
08. They That Wait
09. Over My Head
10. All God's Children
11. I'm Movin'
12. Be Encouraged
13. Life


Album: 20th Century Masters-The Best Of Sounds Of Blackness (2007)


01. Chains
02. I Believe
03. Stand
04. Optimistic
05. Hold On (Change Is Comin')
06. Spirit - Craig Mack, Sounds of Blackness
07. Testify
08. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright
09. Pressure, Pt. 1
10. I'm Going All the Way
11. Black Butterfly
12. We Give You Thanks



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