James Austin

Established as an alternative to the drugs and gang violence on the rise in Chicago’s Cabrini Green projects, the St. Luke Church of God in Christ Youth Choir came together under Bishop James Austin’s watchful eye in the late 1960s. Clearly influenced by the mass choir-funk sound of T.L. Barrett's “Like A Ship,” their 1974 debut Glad About It even tapped Barrett to pen the back cover’s sleeve notes, in which he calls the 1974 album “A musical testimony of God’s ability to produce exquisite music from the proletariat.” On “I’ll Take Jesus For Mine,” Hylinious Redmond grabs the solo spot, cautiously prodded along by Luke Austin’s gloomy organ and the pump of Larry Ball’s bass before the COGIC kids crash the last 90 seconds to drive the point home: Jesus is my personal savior. Deal with it.

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