Sunday, June 03, 2012

Brother Claude Ely

I sometimes think about what we will leave behind when we depart this world. Many people leave their influence through children, grandchildren, etc. Even after we are gone, and our direct descendants are gone, the influence remains. Others leave writings, recordings or other tangible bits behind.

When I heard a story about a book written by Brother Claude Ely's great nephew, I thought how wonderful it was that he had gathered the information and created this book. People have all kinds of lives we can't imagine. But, they create them. And live them. In this case, Brother Claude's life has been captured in these pages - at least part of it.

Brother Claude Ely was a preacher/musician born in 1922, who is still remembered in the areas where he ministered. It seems he was quite a striking figure - a big man with big ideas and a big voice. His music is considered to be one of the examples of gospel music that influenced rock and roll.

He went across the country, holding revivals and tent meetings. Many of his recordings were done during live church services and include the shouting mixed in with the music - a hallmark of the Pentecostal churches in the south.

Ely came to religion when he experienced a miraculous healing from TB when he was a young man. He was always passionate about his chosen profession.

His signature song was this one, "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down." It was covered by multiple people, most famously perhaps by Johnny Cash. Ely died in 1977, during a church service, falling backwards off the bench while playing the organ.

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