HE WILL COME is Shirley Caesar's album of a lifetime. In a career that began when today's First Lady of Gospel was only 10 years old, that's saying quite a lot. But some things only improve with time, and Shirleys sense of herself -- as artist and minister -- has never been clearer or communicate with more authority.
Recorded entirely live, HE WILL COME, distills the perfection of a studio recording with the excitement of Shirley, her choir and band, and an on-fire congregation brought together to have serious church. Recording live gives me freedom, says Shirley. I dont have to stand in a studio behind a microphone. I can truly let go and let God in, with no restrictions. This recording session allowed me to really minister...to really be myself...to be just Shirley.
The musical and ministerial centerpiece of Shirley Caesars latest album is the title song, He Will Come. The song has a strong, spoken-word story that accompanies it, in the tradition of Shirleys signature song, Hold My Mule, originally released in 1987. Both songs combine music, ministry and message delivered in a way that only Shirley Caesar can. In the eight years since Mule became a modern-day Gospel classic, a morally decaying society has only continued to crumble and self-destruct. But this song states in no uncertain terms Pastor Caesars strong sense that the Lords return is imminent, and her unshakable determination to continue to fight the good fight.
The enemy would have us think were waging a losing battle, declared Shirley, but I'm not gonna stop. I'm on the winning team, and because of that I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna give in, and God knows, I'm not gonna give out. Because He will come. He is coming. And everyday we need to bear that in mind and prepare for it.
Continuing in spiritual high gear, Revive Us Again, is a joyous call to rebirth and renewal in the Lord. Our Father begins with Pastor Caesar preaching on the true meaning and depth of love expressed in the Lords Prayer. The choir backs her on a new musical rendering of those classic words, as Shirley joins them in the songs dramatic climax.
God Is Good is a simple but stirring song of praise to the Lord fro all His goodness, all of the time, while Heaven is a put-your-hands-together shout of joy in the security of eternity for all believers. Patiently Waiting is a heart-rending ballad prompting the disheartened to keep faith with God, and Time to Be Blessed sings of the many ways God rewards that patience.
Theres so much tragedy in the world today, and this is an album that speaks to hurting people, says Shirley. When people hear songs like God Is Good, Patiently Waiting, and Time To Be Blessed, theyll be encouraged. Anytime we can wake up healthy in the morning, and drive past the cemetery, we ought to count our blessings. We can spend so much time worrying over little things when there are people every day dealing with life and death issues. We need to think on the goodness of Jesus and put total confidence in Him.
Tithes & Offerings uses a punch groove to convey serious and practical advice to honor material commitments to the Lord. If you wanna be blessed, give your tithes and offerings, Shirley explains. If you want more, give it to the poor, and the Lord will give it back to you. You can never out-give God.
In addition to pastoring her own congregation at the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church, in Raleigh, NC, and maintaining a busy concert schedule, Shirley recently completed her third sold-out run on Broadway starring in the Gospel musical Born To Sing: Mama 3, and just completed a series of commercials for MCI Communications.
Having remained high on both the charts and in her fans hearts through all the phases of her eminent career, Shirley cites her now-deceased mother for having given her the best musical advice she ever received. Just before Mama passed, Shirley recalls, she called me to her and said, I want the old Shirley back. I had done some restrained, conservative, pop sort of albums at that time, but right after that I came out with Hold My Mule. That was the beginning of me returning to my roots.
If Hold My Mule was indeed the beginning of that journey, then HE WILL COME is its full, glorious realization. HE WILL COME is Shirley Caesar doing what she does best...being just Shirley. And theres not a doubt that her mom, from her own place in heaven, is smiling down on her girl.