New York Community Choir – Make Every Day Count (1978/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:48:18 minutes | 1,02 GB | Genre: R&B, Gospel, Soul, Disco
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital booklet | © RCA Records/Sony Music
Recorded at RCA Studios, New York. Remastered at Battery Studios, New York.
Formed in the early ’70s as an offshoot of the popular, Grammy-nominated Isaac Douglas Singers, The New York Community Choir originally consisted of some one hundred members under the direction of Benny Diggs and included prominent writer Arthur Freeman. The Choir first came to national prominence in the U.S. in 1971 on a much-acclaimed recording by renowned poet Nikki Giovanni, “The Truth Is On Its Way.” Another offshoot of the choir, Revelation Movement (which included Diggs and Freeman) was formed to primarily do secular rather than gospel shows and morphed in 1974 into Revelation consisting of Diggs and Freeman along with Philip Ballou and Arnold McCuller. The quartet signed to RSO Records where they recorded one album. In 1977, The New York Community Choir signed with RCA Records: their self-titled debut LP included the dance hit, “Express Yourself”.
Released in 1978, the follow-up set, MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT (with a group name change to NYCC) was produced – like its predecessor by RCA executive Warren Schatz – and included seven original songs and a cover of “I’ll Keep My Light In My Window,” a tune originally recorded by the duo Caston & Majors for Motown (later cut also by Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye). With arrangements by Leon Pendarvis (the co-leader of the “Saturday Night Live” band) and featuring stellar New York session musicians such as Paul Shaffer and Richard Tee on keyboards, Jeff Mironov and John Tropea on guitars, Errol ‘Crusher’ Bennett on percussion, Will Lee on bass and Steve Gadd on drums.
The album’s infectious title track became popular particularly in East Coast discos and has remained a popular inspirational anthem among gospel and R&B music lovers. The original LP is making its worldwide CD debut with this release by Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records and this Expanded Edition includes six-minute plus 12″ single versions of “Make Every Day Count” and “I’ll Keep My Light in My Window” with liner notes by SoulMusic Records founder David Nathan and remastering at Sony’s Battery Studios. Funky, soulful, spiritual!?
Mixing gospel with secular music wasn’t exactly a new thing in the early ’70s. Sam Cooke, after all, had left the Soul Stirrers for a legendary secular pop career in the 1960s. The Edwin Hawkins Singers had a big pop hit with “Oh Happy Day” in 1969, and the great Staple Singers had begun their run of early-’70s gems as well, so the stage was set for the 100-voices-strong New York Community Choir, who came into the public’s eye when poet Nikki Giovanni used them on her acclaimed 1971 album The Truth Is on Its Way. Signing to RCA Records, the choir, reduced to 15 voices for recording purposes, released a self-titled album in 1977, which yielded the huge dance hit “Express Yourself,” which was gospel in intent but dancefloor disco in sound. This follow-up album was even tighter, merging big dancefloor rhythms with gospel-inspired secular material that still retained a spiritual dimension. This time around, the choir was reduced further to ten voices, and with some of New York’s finest session players on board, including Paul Shaffer and Richard Tee on keyboards, Jeff Mironov and John Tropea on guitars, Errol “Crusher” Bennett on percussion, Will Lee on bass, and Steve Gadd on drums, the choir, now known as NYCC, delivered a time-period gem in 1978, highlighted by the upbeat title track “Make Every Day Count” and a fine cover of “I’ll Keep My Light in My Window,” a tune originally recorded by the duo Caston & Majors for Motown Records (and then later cut, as well, by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye). The album became a big favorite in the East Coast dance clubs, and has been a prized find ever since for gospel and R&B fans and collectors. Real Gone Music finally reissued the LP on CD in 2014, adding in 12″ single mixes of “Make Every Day Count” and “I’ll Keep My Light in My Window” as additional bonus tracks. –AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
1 Make Every Day Count 3:54
2 A Song Can Reach Your Heart 5:56
3 I’ll Keep My Light In My Window 2:44
4 The World Is Waiting For A Change 5:12
5 Rejoice, Rejoice 5:20
6 Who Do You Say I Am 4:34
7 This Old Man 4:14
8 We Can Make It 4:14
9 I’ll Keep My Light In The Window (12″ Version) 6:02
10 Make Every Day Count (12″ Version) 6:08
The New York Community Choir
Errol Crusher Bennett – Congas
Gregory Cole – Composer, Piano
George Devens – Percussion
Benny Diggs – Composer, Vocal Arrangement
Steve Gadd – Drums
Arthur Kaplan – Horn, String Contractor
Will Lee IV – Bass
Jeffrey Mironov – Guitars
Cliff Morris – Guitars
L. Leon Pendarvis – Arranger, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes
William Seidman – Guitars
Paul Shaffer – Piano
Richard Tee – Piano
John Tropea –Guitars