About THE MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY
Founding Members: Joe Ligon and Richard Wallace
Long-time Members: Mike Cook, Ron Staples and Johnny Valentine
The original Mighty Clouds of Joy members were made up of members from three different Los Angeles Gospel groups. Today, the current membership is made up of two of the original group, Joe Ligon and Richard Wallace, plus Johnny Valentine, Ron Staples and Michael Cook, who have all been singing together for some time.
The Mighty Clouds of Joy formed in 1955, and started recording in 1960, and have been going strong ever since, through "triumphs and tragedies, successes and near failures," becoming living legends in the process of serving Jesus Christ through their unique musical gifts, which have been showcased in their years of singing Gospel music, taking the genre "to places it seldom, if ever had been."
All members of The Mighty Clouds of Joy have similar backgrounds, beliefs and attitudes concerning their faith and their musical efforts. "We all had similar backgrounds -- we were all raised in the church, and we all had a like mind about the kind of music we wanted to do. And we've remained dedicated to each other and the quality of the music all these years." - Joe Ligon.
Developing a love for Jesus and a love for Gospel music were two important areas which Joe Ligon and the other members of The Mighty Clouds of Joy took to heart, motivating them to sing Gospel music, much to the blessing of their audience. For what they have learned about Jesus through His Word and through a life depending on Him, has inspired heartfelt performances of the wonderful collection of songs found on their new album, IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, which reflects upon their collective walks and experiences.
Joe Ligon, lead singer, was born into a large family and grew up in rural Alabama. Joe shares in an interview found in the group's promotional materials about his upbringing and important moments in his childhood and youth, his church experiences being a cornerstone in his developing faith. One can find some of his early experiences expressed in several songs found on their new album, IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.
The album's title song, IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD catches the spirit and worship experiences that young Joe remembers in his growing up years, when his grandma took him to church. Grandparents were and are a positive spiritual influence in the lives of many children and people. Kyle Bynoe, who composed this song for The Mighty Clouds of Joy, also was taken to church by his grandparents as a child.
Joe Ligon's Sunday experiences and his church's annual revival as well, positively effected his love for the Lord and helped him to grow spiritually through music and worship, important seeds of faith which were planted early in his life.
Like the little boy in the song, Joe Ligon was taken to his grandfather's church which was a church family who encouraged Joe to grow spiritually through music and other experiences. Witnessing Christians around him expressed their faith and love of the Lord through words, songs, feeling the movement of the Holy Spirit among them.
Joe explains, "My grandfather was a preacher in a little town called Elem, Alabama, about fifty miles outside of Montgomery. My father was a great quartet singer in that same church. I vividly recall every August they'd have a big revival. It usually lasted a week, every weeknight, with a different guest pastor and then all day Sunday. And the music was as good as a lot of what you'd hear well-known, touring, recording groups do; only our folks just did it for the love of the music and the Gospel."
The lyrics and their performance in this "old school" Gospel song, A CHURCH, reflects the traditional praise and worship song with a kick that Joe and countless others experienced in a Sunday service.
Joe continues, "I love that song, IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, because it describes so perfectly the church experiences I had coming up. It's written from the viewpoint of a young boy, remembering when his grandma would take him to church, just like mine did. And the deacons would all be praying; the choir would be singing, and the preacher, just preaching away. The groove of the song felt so good, and it brought back such good memories that I knew right away we had to record it."
Joe's mother was a source of encouragement . Though stage-shy in nature, Joe was encouraged to sing by his family, especially his mother in church for the love of Jesus, in worship to Him. Joe shares this on this album in his comments he used to introduce the song, MAMA PRAYED US THROUGH.
Prayer was an important part of everyday life in Joe Ligon's family. His mother "prayed" them through many hard times, and the Lord always came through. MAMA PRAYED US THROUGH, by Thomas Cain, is sung by Joe as a personal testimony to his mother's influential faith and the faithfulness of the Lord.
On the CD jacket, Joe Ligon thanks his mom. "I want to thank my mom, Bernice Ligon, for always seeing my God given talent and encouraging me to use it the way God wanted me."
Joe Ligon and the other members of THE MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY further express their testimony about how the Lord Jesus has been a loving guiding force in their lives through their relationships with Him, through the songs chosen to be on this fine album.