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The Holy Disciples


After navigating Chicago’s deep gospel waters since 1957, these Holy Disciples, by the time of their Abec-released LP in 1980, had been whittled down to one original member, guitarist Cleveland Nickson. Under the guidance of James Wilson and Johnie Isabel, the Holy Disciples released 45s on Sunny Sawyer’s aptly named Church label and Detroit’s highly regarded House Of Beauty label, while Wilson’s moonlight job at Offe Reese’s One Way Record Shop lead to 1977’s Cry Tears of Joy album. Twenty years in, the Holy Disciples of Chicago, Ill. had not yet become the household, or even church-hold, name they’d hoped. Memphis also-ran Earl Cage produced the octet’s sophomore album, My Soul Needs Resting, which shows flourishes of the gritty sound he delivered for the Goldwax, Stax, and Sound of Memphis labels. “I Know Him,” sung by Wilson, is a sturdy revision of a traditional hymn, but bass by Floyd Dawson, John Poindexter’s drums, and Nickson’s laid back groove carry this cut to heavenly heights. The Holy Disciples would return to One Way in 1985 with I Know He Knows and continue to perform into the 1990s.


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