Min. Keith Pringle was an important figure in the 1980s gospel choir community. Even though he may be better known in the gospel music industry as a soloist, Pringle established a reputation for choral excellence when he organized the Pentecostal Community Choir in Los Angeles. The choir delivered the no-holds-barred, open-throated, gymnastic power vocals that had become the signature sound of late 20th Century gospel choruses.
Originally from Detroit and raised in the COGIC church, Pringle cites Rev. James Cleveland as the one who made him industry mainstream. The story goes that Pringle was organist on a recording session that featured James Cleveland with Pastor J.C. Wade and the Salem Mass Choir of the Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska. During “No Ways Tired,” King James turned to Pringle, blithely content at the keyboards, and said, “Sing it for me, Keith.” Astonished, Keith responded by singing it, though he had never sung solo on a recording before.
The record was a success and launched Pringle’s gospel music career. The following year, Pringle organized the Pentecostal Community Choir in Los Angeles.
Pringle and the PCC’s 1980 runaway gospel hit “Call Him Up” — co-written by another powerhouse, Ricky Grundy — with its audience-thrilling stop-time pauses, and the following year’s feel-good “When All God’s Children Get Together,” became compulsory learning for any church-based or professional gospel chorus worth its muster. Nearly thirty years later, these arrangements are still heard from time to time, and – credit due to Pringle and Savoy Records – the original recordings sound just as fresh and exciting today as they did then. Some of the finest old school choir recordings from the Golden Age of Mass Choirs.
As Keith Pringle writes, “There will NEVER be another choir like PCC!”
“Call Him Up” is on the LP True Victory (Savoy SGL 7053)
“When All God’s Children Get Together” is on the LP When All God’s Children Get Together (Savoy SL 14656)
By the way, want to know what Min. Pringle is up to these days? Check out his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/keithpringle.
(Special thanks to Benita Bellamy and Joseph Middleton for their assistance.)