Ms. Connie B | The Path That Leads Home

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United States - North Carolina

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Folk: Traditional Folk Spiritual: Spirituals Moods: A Cappella
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The Path That Leads Home

by Ms. Connie B

Fully 75 years after she began singing with her family’s a cappella quartet, elder Black songster Connie Steadman presents her 1st solo album, offering unaccompanied spiritual songs—and a few tales—from the deep African American traditions of her NC home.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. My Lord's Getting Us Ready
3:13 $0.99
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2. Nobody's Fault but Mine
2:29 $0.99
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3. You Got to Move
3:09 $0.99
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4. The Spirit Told Me
5:58 $0.99
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5. I Will Trust in the Lord
3:28 $0.99
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6. Don't Wait for Tomorrow's Sun
2:58 $0.99
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7. Thomas
2:57 $0.99
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8. The Beast
3:35 $0.99
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9. Oh Lord, I Want You to Help Me
2:51 $0.99
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10. If It Wasn't for the Lord
3:25 $0.99
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11. In My Father's House
2:50 $0.99
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12. I Was There
3:20 $0.99
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13. Oh Come, Angel Band
3:21 $0.99
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14. We Better Mind
2:38 $0.99
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15. We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder
2:31 $0.99
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16. Brer Rabbit and Brer Dog
6:23 $0.99
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17. Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown
3:55 $0.99
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18. Wade in the Water
2:23 $0.99
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19. The Path That Leads Home
4:13 $0.99
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20. High Jobee
9:02 $0.99
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21. It Is Well with My Soul
2:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Sometimes, you’re just not done.
Connie Steadman—who performs under the name “Ms. Connie B”—had known this for years, having long felt that her many decades of singing spirituals and gospel songs weren’t yet over. Yet Ms. Steadman had spent all those years singing with others, always taking the alto part in her family’s a cappella ensemble. Now all of her singing partners were gone. As they either passed on or became unable to sing, no one else in the family stepped in to fill their shoes. So she was alone. But she knew that she wasn’t finished.
It was ultimately a verse from Revelations that inspired Ms. Steadman to move forward with this recording, one that called her to “wake up, and strengthen what remains . . . for I have not found your works complete.” Ms. Steadman knew, without a moment’s hesitation, that she had been led to that verse. “That scripture became encouragement for me,” she recalls. “It was something meant for me to do.”
"The Path that Leads Home" is Connie Steadman’s response to that invitation. Though she had spent her entire life singing in her family’s gospel group—beginning in 1944, when she was only five—she here offers a set of solo selections, performing pieces that were part of her family’s and church’s repertoire. Only a few of the songs on this CD were ones that she harmonized with her family; most were selections that she heard her father, elder kin, or older church members sing alone or as part of the congregation. These were pieces that had—as she says—touched her, songs that offered spiritual sustenance as the need arose, and that found voice in moments of quietude. Now, it seemed, it was time to share this quietude, and to present the songs as she remembered them.
The presentation, in turn, is gently—and deeply—quiet. Ms. Steadman’s family was not one given to emphatically emotional singing. “Daddy always felt that our music was music that you should listen to,” Ms. Steadman recalls. “He felt that when you’re singing, you’re telling a story, like you’re teaching someone.” As a result, the Badgett Family quartet always sang a cappella, trusting the delicate calm of their harmonies to convey their ministerial message. The calm clearly remains. The songs on this album, as a result, craft a peaceful space that welcomes listeners into its intimacy.
Songs, though, were only part of the Badgett family’s creative world. Ms. Steadman’s mother was also an accomplished storyteller, regularly regaling her children with tales about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and their mythic cohort, filling otherwise quiet times with stories she had learned from her father. Ms. Steadman offers two of those stories on this album, telling about that wily rabbit and some evil terrapins, while testifying to the way that these tales continue to live on in oral tradition.
Finally, Ms. Steadman adds two poems to the album, riffing on a tradition of poetic recitation that has deep roots in the South’s Black communities. Her mother would often entertain Connie and her siblings by reciting the narrative lyrics of jubilee songs, while her church and school made rhymed recitations requisite parts of their special programs. Both contexts set the frame for her own poetry, represented here in a trenchant assessment of contemporary racism, titled “The Beast,” and in Ms. Steadman’s testimonial poem, “I Was There.”
Taken together, the album’s songs, stories, and poems testify to the quiet power of tradition in Connie Steadman’s family, church, and community, and to the creativity that continues to push that tradition into new realms of relevance.
The physical CD includes a 24-page booklet with a full biographical portrait, historical photographs, and extensive notes on each song.

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