Monday Melody – Oh It Is Jesus

This was, mercifully, a less stressful weekend than the last one, when Sandy was a looming threat over our heads.  Grateful to be spared but my heart goes out to those in NY and NJ in the aftermath of the storm. Plus, I got to hang out with a few more of my girlfriends yet again.  What a blessing!

 
Song/Album:  “Oh It Is Jesus” by Tata Vega on the album Now I See.
Why it made the cut:   This is a classic Andrae Crouch song, and for a reason.  This simple retelling of the story of the woman with an issue of blood is given pathos and power through Tata’s impassioned vocals.   

The song is a sermon, testimony, and altar call all rolled into one, with Tata’s mentor, Andrae Crouch, on piano, the late Billy Preston on the Hammond B3, and many of the Andrae Crouch Singers providing backup vocals.  

I never cease to marvel at the range, texture, and nuances of Tata’s voice.  Her nimbleness in shifting from a breathy, almost plaintive lament to a ferocious, full-bodied growl in one breath marks her as a luminous talent with whom few can compare.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Artist:  Carmen Rosa Vega, known as Tata Vega (ta-ta was the first word she uttered as a child), has enjoyed a long and varied career as a singer and musician.  The New York native starred in the musical Hair in the 1960s and sang with two groups before beginning her solo career in the 1970s. 

Known as “the godmother of funk” for her disco-esque tunes in the 1970s, Tata has also worked as a sessions singer with such acts as Stevie Wonder, Russ Taff, Patti Labelle, BeBe and CeCe Winans, and Michael Jackson.  

Her tenure with mentor Andrae Crouch led to many opportunities to take center stage and to her Grammy nomination for best female gospel performance for “Oh It Is Jesus” back in 1985.  The song is one of the most requested gospel songs by any artist. 

She was featured on four songs on the soundtrack of the movie The Color Purple and was the singing voice of Shug Avery in the Oscar nominated song “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister).”  Tata’s voice can also be heard in the Latin American version of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King and in music from movies like A Time To Kill, Forrest Gump, and Amistad.

To our benefit, her focus is now on sharing the gospel through music with her fans!

Favorite lyrics:

I tried all that I could
Seemed like nothing did me any good
Then I heard Jesus was passing by
So I decided to give Him a try

Sweet spots: The interlude from 3:02 to 3:47 and the vamp from 3:48 to the end.

 


Comments

  1. mining f. parker says:

    Just want to say I love to here Tata sing. I first heard her sing on soul train.I love her style.I sing myself.Love u Tata.

    • Tata is one of the greats! Just this morning I heard someone singing “Are You Ready” on the radio and thought of her version of it. Awesome!

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