Song of the Year #14: This Is My Prayer


So second gospel singer gone secular on the list is Theola Kilgore. Starting out in the R&B field by answering Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”, by 1963 she was on Scepter Records (Home of The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick) and had scored the surprise #3 R&B/Pop #21 hit record “The Love of My Man” (one of those adapted from Gospel numbers that replaced the heavenly father/trinity with an earthly being… see Ray Charles “I Got a Woman” or Mitty Collier’s “I Had a Talk With My Man” for other fine examples).

But my favorite is her intense call to god follow up to her first hit

“This Is My Prayer” (1963)

One of the great things about Theola Kilgore (and the “maturer” matrons of R&B, Theola was 38ish when she had her pair of hits) is the straightforward directness and life experience she brings to her recordings (see Marie Knight also). at a certain point you might call of divine help for anything.

Of all songs that walks the balance of between gospel and secular this one really works splendidly. Plus it moves at a far less bluesy dirge tempo than her first hit (the string arrangement doing a lot of heavy lifting to keep the settings from being too glum)… sadly it wasn’t as big a hit as her first.

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