Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Mighty Clouds of Joy: Pray for Me (1990)

(As published in Rejoice! ... )

The Mighty Clouds of Joy
Pray for Me

Their twenty-seventh album and fifth live one at least, Pray for Me is an apotheosis. Can't nobody touch their "Can't Nobody," their "Nobody Can Turn Me Around," or their "Somewhere Around the Throne." And "Heavy Load, which they've always owned, has never been captured in a more expansive rendition. Joe Ligon's sermons grow longer and more integral to the songs they set up; that's how the title song grows to eight minutes and the last one to eleven with no one--not the Clouds, not the crowd, and not you--tiring. Beneficiaries of the final miracle, digital sound, include Lloyd Barry's horns, the rhythm section, and Ligon's soulfully pneumonic wheezing. Thirty years on the road and they're peaking again.

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