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The New Orleans Spiritualettes were formed in 1956, in the midst of a New Orleans gospel movement that eventually produced a dozen or more musical ensembles. Founded by Mississippi transplant Ruby Ray, who remains the group’s leader, The New Orleans Spiritualettes have continued to rely since that time on strong rhythms and heart-felt harmonies that recall a backwoods choir as much as a more-refined, city-based ensemble.

The Spiritualettes’ sound is further distinguished by a tightly rehearsed instrumental combo considered an integral part of the group, imparting echoes of the early Staple Singers to the Spiritualettes’ fervent and heavenly harmonies. The standouts abound on this hard-rocking program as the Spiritualettes also pride themselves on truly distinctive and original arrangements of the tried-and-true, old-time repertoire.

One real highlight is the Spiritualettes sanctified, hard-driving take on “Ninety-Nine-and-a-Half (Just Won’t Do),” which falls midway on the scale of spirit possession between the 1956 gospel hit by gospel great Dorothy Love Coates and a later, secularized re-working by soul icon Wilson Pickett. By contrast, the venerable “Down by the Riverside” gets an easy-going, upbeat treatment, and “I Don’t Know Why (I Have to Cry Sometimes)” is rendered almost in the manner of a doo-wop ballad.

Inspiration and originality help explain the New Orleans Spiritualettes' longevity, but so does a passionate commitment that fills every selection with God’s spirit. As leader Ruby Coates says, “We love singing, and we love being Christians. You know, sometimes you can get a message through with sermon, and sometimes you can get one over with a song.”

Listen to any cut on this superb CD, and we know you’ll get the message!

 

 

 

I BELIEVE

LORD WILL YOU HELP ME

YOU’VE BEEN GOOD TO ME

THE LORD WILL MAKE A WAY

HE’S CALLING ME

TWO WINGS

TALK WITH JESUS

NINETY NINE AND A HALF

BIGGER THAN YOU AND I

GOD IS

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT JESUS

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

GALILEE

I DON’T KNOW WHY

LITTLE BOY

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