Black Music: A Special SectionApril 16, 1979 James Cleveland Sings the Horns off the Devil Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once said that it was conceivable that good could triumph as often as evil if the angels were as well organized as the Mafia. Reverend James Cleveland, founder of the interdenominational Gospel Music Workshop of America, is on the side of the angels. And, along with Count Basie, James Brown, Ray Charles, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Sun Ra, and George Clinton, he is one of the godfathers of black music, one of God’s “bad boys.” At the Gospel Music Workshop’s 12th Annual Board of Directors meeting recently held in Birmingham, Alabama, Cleveland ably demonstrated that he is an outstanding preacher, gospel composer, performer, producer, organizer, and philanthropist. I left Birmingham with the conviction that Reverend James Cleveland has fundamental insights into the nature of evil, and is prepared to put the Devil out of business, but might have a harder time than he realizes. James Cleveland was born in Chicago on December 12, 1932, and raised in a religious environment, attending the Pilgrim Baptist Church. About the same time, the minister of music of the church, Thomas A. Dorsey, co-founded the… Read full this story
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