Sunday, May 14, 2006


Rev. C. L. Franklin - I Will Trust In The Lord

Although nowadays known primarily for being Aretha's father, Rev. C. L. Franklin was the T. D. Jakes of his day, known as the man with the "Million Dollar Voice." Franklin's sermons, singing and flashiness made him a household word both in black Detroit, where he pastored the New Bethel Baptist Church, and throughout the country through personal appearances, radio broadcasts and a successful series of LPs for Chess Records, who paid Franklin $3,000 a sermon to record for them. Franklin's Chess LPs, with their strong titles (some which immediately come to mind are "Nothing Shall Separate Me From the Love of God" and "The Eagle Stirreth In Her Nest"), depicted black church at its finest: side one of the LP would find Franklin intelligently explicating the scripture and building upon the sermon's theme; side two would find Franklin shouting and exhorting, and invariably, the records would either end with Franklin singing or would fade out with Franklin still hollering (and various women shouting), or some mixture of both! Today's selection clearly came from the end of a sermon, and you find Fraklin extending an invitation to discipleship and interrupting the song to preach a little, with the ever-present shouting sisters getting the spirit in the background.

Although Rev. Franklin (known by friends as "Frank") was not a clergyman without controversy (Nick Salvatore has an excellent book about Franklin that goes into his friendliness with the secular world and its vices), all in all his influence on black preaching and the concept of minister as celebrity extends to the present day.

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