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Shirley Caesar

A giant in the world of spiritual music, Shirley Caesar has been called "the First Lady of Gospel Music" thanks to a career that has spanned seven decades and brought her 11 Grammy Awards, as well as 15 Dove Awards. Shirley Caesar was born in Durham, North Carolina on October 13, 1938. Shirley was one of 12 children born to her father, James Caesar (aka Big Jim Caesar); Big Jim made his living working in tobacco but preached the gospel in his spare time, and also sang with a gospel group. Young Shirley had begun joining in with the group on occasion when Big Jim died, and with her mother handicapped, she began singing at local churches to help bring in money for the household.

Caesar soon advanced to performing with a traveling evangelist, Leroy Johnson, and in 1951 she cut her first record, a single for Federal Records, "I'd Rather Have Jesus" b/w "I Know Jesus Will Save." In 1956, Caesar enrolled at North Carolina State College, where she majored in business education with hopes of becoming an evangelist. Caesar was still singing, however, and in 1958, when the celebrated female gospel group the Caravans appeared in Durham, she asked to sing a solo in place of a member of the act who was unable to appear. Caravans leader Albertina Walker was pleased with Caesar's work, and with her family's blessing, Shirley left college to join the Caravans full-time. In 1961 Caesar released a solo single, "Hallelujah, It's Done," which incorporated a sermon along with the music, and she began touring as a singing evangelist during downtime from the Caravans. Shirley's work on her own helped her develop a dynamic performing style, and when creative differences led her to leave the Caravans in 1966, she was ready to launch a solo career. She soon formed her own gospel group, the Shirley Caesar Singers, and by 1969 they had landed a record deal with HOB Records.

In 1971, Caesar won her first Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance for her version of "Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man from Galilee," and in 1975 her cover of Melba Montgomery's "No Charge" became a crossover hit that appeared on the R&B and pop charts. From the late '70s onward, Caesar was a dominant figure on the gospel charts, and in 1981 she won her first Gospel Music Association Dove Award for her album Rejoice (she would receive 14 more Dove honors by 2002, as well as 13 Stellar Awards, another major honor in gospel music). While Caesar's career was more than enough to keep most people busy, in 1969 she launched the Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries to help serve the needs of the people of Durham, and the organization became a registered nonprofit in 1981, funded in part by Caesar's performance fees. Also in 1981, Caesar enrolled at Shaw University to complete her business degree, and in 1987 she was elected to the Durham City Council. Caesar became a pastor at the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Durham, where her husband, Bishop Harold Ivory Williams, also served until his passing in 2008.

In addition to her recording career, Caesar appeared on-stage in the gospel musical Mama, I Want to Sing and its two sequels, as well as the movies The Fighting Temptations and Why Do Fools Fall in Love and the TV show The Parkers. In 2016, Caesar got an unexpected boost in visibility when a clip from her performance of the song "Hold My Mule," in which she reels off a holiday menu that includes "greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes," was used in an online video that went viral. Thanks to the video, "Hold My Mule" rocketed to the top of Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart, giving Caesar her first number one in the survey. As if to confirm that Caesar was no novelty act, near the end of 2016 Shirley received two Grammy nominations, for the album Fill This House and for her performance with Anthony Hamilton on the song "It's Alright, It's OK." In addition to these two nominations, the Recording Academy also honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the art of recorded music. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Mother Emanuel (Dramatic Version) (Single)

1. Mother Emanuel (Dramatic Version)


Track List: Fill This House

1. It's Alright, It's Ok (Feat. Anthony Hamilton)

2. He Won't Fail You

3. Survive This (Feat. Hezekiah Walker)

4. Fill This House

5. Need Him Now

6. Mother Emanuel

7. Prayer Changes Things

8. Be Happy (I Command U To Live)

9. Sow Righteous Seeds (Hymn)

10. Sow Righteous Seeds

11. Prayer Works


Track List: It's Alright, It's Ok (Single)

1. It's Alright, It's Ok (Feat. Anthony Hamilton)


Track List: Harvest Collection: Shirley Caesar

1. Jordan River

2. Satan, We're Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down

3. Another Days Journey

4. Stranger On The Road

5. Be Careful Of The Stones You Throw

6. I'll Go

7. The World Didn't Give It To Me

8. Comfort Me

9. Don't Be Afraid

10. Don't Drive Your Mama Away

11. Millenial Reign

12. My Testimony


Track List: Good God

1. Good God

2. You Stayed

3. Holy Boldness

4. When You Pray God Answers

5. Not Through Not Yet

6. In God's Perfect Hands

7. God Will Make A Way

8. Nice To Be Nice

9. Do It Today

10. Use Me To Deliver Your Word

11. More And More Like Jesus

12. Fighting The Good Fight


Track List: The Ultimate Collection

1. Rejoice

2. He's Working It Out For You

3. You're Next In Line For A Miracle (Ult Version)

4. Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name (Remastered Version)

5. You Can Make It

6. Amazing Grace

7. I Remember Mama (Live)

8. Satan, You're A Liar (Ult Version)

9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus (You Are My Friend)

10. Hold My Mule (Live)

11. No Charge (Remastered Version)

12. He'll Do It Again (Ult Version)

13. Blessed Assurance

14. Strong Man (Ult Version)

15. Go (Ult Version)


Track List: A City Called Heaven

1. Celebration

2. Favor

3. Great Feeling

4. Nobody

5. Cornerstone

6. Been So Good

7. Playground In Heaven

8. Get Light For The Flight

9. Can't Even Walk

10. A City Called Heaven


Track List: Definitive Gospel Collection

1. You Are All I Need

2. Rejoice

3. Yes Lord, Yes

4. Just As I Am

5. No Charge

6. Star Of The Morning

7. Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name

8. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

9. Satan, You're A Liar

10. Go


Track List: After 40 Years: Still Sweeping Through The City

1. Sweeping Through The City

2. Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name

3. Hold My Mule

4. Peace In The Midst Of The Storm

6. Never

7. Choose Ye This Day

9. Faded Rose

11. He's Got It All In Control


Track List: The Lost Recordings Of Shirley Caesar: Go Take A Bath


Track List: You Can Make It

1. Rejoice

2. Armor of God

3. You Can Make It

4. What Joy

5. It's Under the Blood

6. Lift Him Up

7. Nicodemus

8. I Am God

9. It's a Blessing

10. Reign Jesus Reign


Track List: Stand The Storm

1. The World Didn't Give It To Me

2. Faded Rose

3. No Charge

5. I Believe

7. Stranger On The Road

8. Be Careful Of The Stones You Throw

9. Satan, We're Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down

10. My Testimony

11. Lord Revive Me

13. Stand The Storm


Track List: Shirley Caesar & Friends

1. Starting All Over Again (feat. Oleta Adams)

2. I'm Ready (feat. Kirk Franklin)

3. Just A Closer Walk With Thee (feat. Desmond Pringle)

4. You Are My Friend (feat. Patti Labelle)

5. I'm Gonna Wait (feat. The Caesar Singers & The Greater Grace Temple Community Church Choir)

6. Hurting Woman (feat. Faith Evans)

7. I'm Blessed (feat. Dottie Peoples)

8. We Praise You Lord (feat. Kim Burrell)

9. I Know It Was The Blood (feat. Gladys Knight & Patti Labelle)

10. Home


Track List: Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs Of Bob Dylan

1. Gotta Serve Somebody


Track List: Hymns

1. Steal Away To Jesus - Prelude

2. Steal Away To Jesus (Feat. Michelle Williams)

3. Amazing Grace

4. One More Battle To Fight

5. Come Ye, Disconsolate

6. Holy, Holy, Holy

7. There Is Power In The Blood

8. Blessed Assurance

9. God Will Take Care Of You

10. Go Ahead

11. How Long Has It Been


Track List: Christmas With Shirley Caesar

1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

2. The Gift

3. Little Drummer Boy

4. Ave Maria

5. Do You Hear What I Hear

6. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

7. What Are You Going to Name Your Baby

8. What Child Is This

9. Giving and Sharing

10. We Three Kings

11. O Christmas Tree


Track List: God Will Make A Way (Single)

1. God Will Make A Way


Track List: A Miracle In Harlem

1. You'rs Next In Live For A Miracle

2. God Keeps His Promises

3. How I Love Jesus

4. Faded Rose - This Joy Sweeping Through The City

5. So Satisfied

6. Don't Drive Your Moma Away

7. I'm A Witness

8. Who'll Be A Witness

9. Strong Man

10. I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey

11. Let Go, Let God


Track List: Just a Word

1. The Joy of the Lord (Live)

2. Send Down the Rain (Live)

3. God Is the Greatest (Live)

4. Whom Shall I Send (Live)

5. Forgive and Forget (Live)

6. Changed (Live)

7. Praise Him (Live)

8. For Me Lord (Live)

9. Restoration In the Blood (Live)

10. Just a Word (Live)


Track List: Shirley Caesar Live ...He Will Come

1. He Will Come (Live)

2. Tithes and Offerings (Live)

3. Heaven (Live)

4. Patiently Waiting (Live)

5. Revive Us Again (Live)

6. God Is Good (Live)

7. Time to Be Blessed (Live)

8. The Stone (Live)

9. Pray About It (Live)

10. Our Father (Live)

11. He Will Come....The Story (Live)


Track List: Stand Still

1. Stand Still (Feat. John P. Kee)

2. Leave Them In The Hands Of The Lord

3. The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again

4. We Love Our Children

5. Keep On Movin'

6. You Did It All

7. Faith Moves God

8. Just As I Am

9. Step Out


Track List: I Remember Mama

1. I Cannot Stop Praising Him

2. Jesus Is Everywhere

3. Worship Him

4. I Remember Mama

5. Expect Your Blessing

6. Don't Give Up

7. He'll Do It Again

8. What Would You Do


Track List: Treasures

1. The World Didn't Give It To Me

2. Jordan River

3. No Charge

4. Teach Me Master

5. Don't Drive Your Mama Away

6. Millennial Reign

7. Don't Be Afraid

8. Stranger On The Road

9. Be Careful Of The Stones You Throw

10. Get Up My Brother

11. Three Old Men

12. Soul Salvation

13. King Heroin

14. Lord Revive Me

15. I Believe


Track List: He's Working It Out For You

1. He's Working It Out For You

2. Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So

3. You're Everything We Need

4. Psalm 34

5. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

6. It's Been Worth Having The Lord In My Life

7. Healed

8. Go Your Way (Sin No More)

9. Wait On The Lord


Track List: Live... In Chicago

1. Never (Live)

2. His Blood (Live)

3. Feel the Spirit (Live)

4. Things Are Going to Get Better (Live)

5. Hold My Mule (Live)

6. Born Again (Live)

7. Yes Lord, Yes (Live)

8. Peace In the Midst of the Storm (Live)


Track List: Shirley Caesar: Her Very Best

1. Jesus Makes The Difference In Me

2. Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name

3. He's Got It All In Control

4. Satan, You're A Liar

5. Sailin' On The Sea Of Your Love

6. The Lord Will Make A Way

7. No Charge

8. Lord Let Your Spirit Fall On Me

9. Go

10. You Are All I Need


Track List: Jesus I Love Calling Your Name

1. I'll Keep My Light In The Window

2. He's Only A Prayer Away

3. I Don't Wanna Stay Here

4. Mark Of The Beast

5. No Charge

6. Take It Away From Me

7. I Won't Let Go

8. Jesus

9. Guilty As Judas


Track List: Rejoice

1. Whisper A Prayer

2. He's Got It All In Control

3. He's Coming To Take Me Away

4. Satan, You're A Liar

5. Come And Go With Me

6. Gotta Serve Somebody

7. I Wanna Be Ready

8. It's In The Book

9. I Love You, Mama


Track List: Nobody (Radio Single)


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Love that angel beautiful voice,
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Albertina Walker
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I am 61+ years old. I remember listening to Shirley Caesar as a small child. I will ALWAYS listen to her. Great singing Woman of GOD
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Thanks for standing up. Pro- life and following the book you read. Keep up high morals. They are needed.
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I wake up to her music everyday, it feeds my soul,
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Blessed woman of God my first song I hear her sing Jesus I love calling your name still my favorite but this new album patiently wait, God is good, He'll come r d best. Not tired of listening 2 her very anointed inspirationa l n full of vibes. Love her n would love 2 meet her in person which is 1 of my dream. Keep on singing Thou woman of God!!!!
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Let the 'GodMother' of Gospel .Awaken your routine. To what a Monday should be. Saint Shirley C. is just as good in 2017 as she was!
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There are ultimates... . . . then there are exclusives.. . . t h i s complete recorded . Resembles an everlasting. Symbol . The GODMOTHER of Gospel. Gives listening pleasure. With CREATORS'
Guidance. Bless the encouragemen t s , w i t h special gifts!
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Think about my granny everytime I hear your music!
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stand on word of GOD
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When Peter was kept in prison: prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. I believe in EVERYTHING pray should go on! THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus concerning us.
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When we pray without stopping we Rejoice evermore; Because praying without ceasing is giving thanks to God and also we DO NOT Quench the Spirit; because we AWAYS PRAYING. :-) So we should not despise prophesying we should prove all things; hold fast that which is good, through prayers. God says pray for each other. :-) So that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will be with us.
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I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of others in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see them in heaven, being mindful of their tears, that I may be filled with joy! :-) When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that I seen in others, which dwelt first in our grandmothers and our mothers; and now I am persuaded that IS IN US as well.
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US BELIEVERS who are also the called of Jesus Christ:-) Beloved of God, and called to be saints:-) I must thank my God through Jesus Christ for ALL, that our faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. :-) God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of ALL I COME ACROSS! :-) Always in my prayers; Making request, in my car for people I drive by or walk pass.
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So that if by any means or at any length of time; I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto me and them as well. I long to see others in heaven, I pray we ALL may impart to each other some spiritual gifts, to the end that we may be established in Christ Jesus! Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Sang pastor Shirley!
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You really how to touch with Gods words. Love ya
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For i was born to worship Him. We share tears because that's the Spirit Of God cleaning us. Praise God All year children. Let the Holy Ghost in surrender unto God. Rev. Shirley Caesar u have been one of my favorite Gospel singer. I'm a big fan
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Why do I cry towards the end of the song
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monicagillia m 0 1
What a powerful voice of Gods word. You are such a blessing.
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Get the behind me Satan God is a miracle worker he's in controll amen praise his name glory
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Sometimes Angels come down amongst us to bring blessings Rev. Shirley Caesar is one of those special people. May God continue to Bless the world with your presence. Love you always, Joanna
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I love mrs Caesar she has bless my life in every way
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now that you have been reading this don't stop. If you ignore it you will have bad luck. Post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on your screen. It's freaky cause it actually works
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I love ur music Shirley Ceaser it is very touching
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Shirley Caesar I have grown up as a child listen to your music!!!! And I still listen to your music. God bless you!!!! �� ������������
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Keep singing and loving us and praying for all of us Mother we respect and love you ��❤️❤️
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I love Shirley Caesar
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My �� loved Ms. Shirley Caesar and, my auntie Mamie
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I shall Open my mouth, to judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. I am a virtuous woman. My soul is far above rubies. The heart of my husband safely trust in me, he shall have no need to not trust me. I stretch out my hand to the poor; I reach forth my hands to the needy. I am not afraid of the snow for my household: all my household are clothed because i PRAY an AM wealth. I command blessings in everything I say, and sell it; and I deliver blessings to the needy.
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Strength and honour are my blessing; and I rejoice in time to come. I open my mouth with wisdom; and in my tongue is the law of kindness. I look AND PRAY FOR the ways of my household, and eat not the bread of idleness. My children rise up, and call me blessed; my husband also, and he praises me. I am Favoured by God and men; and I am beautiful: i AM a woman that fear the Lord, I shall be praised. I am given the fruit of my hands; and my own works praise me in the city. Praise God! In Jesus name.
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The best artist in the world
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My grandmother love to listen to Shirley caesar god bless her soul
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My mom like Shirley Caesar and l mess her
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Praying for you @Felicia! My mother recently passed and Shirley was also one of her favorites.
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I love Shirley Caesar, I grew listening to her my she's was my Mom favorite gospel singer. God rest her soul
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I like all her songs
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I love Shirley Caesar
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I call JESUS name everyday. Love to call your name JESUS.
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I Love Calling his name "JESUS" !! Thanks Mrs. Ceasar for that song..God Bless
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Shirley is the Best and oh how I love to hear her sing "Jesus I'm Calling Your Name"!
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Mrs. Caesar, "Jesus." You said it all.
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Love u Shirley.
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Teach me JESUS
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I remember hearing mostly Pastor Shirley Caesar on the radio back in the day on Sunday mornings.... . H o l d My Mule by Shirley Caesar reminds me of down South my grandmother in Louisiana... . t h a t dirt road out in the country to the little white church sitting off the road, with all the windows open and no fans, lol.......bu t those oldsaints would sing from the depth of their souls!! Glad as a child I got to experience that with my grandparents ! !
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Beautiful song I really admire this lady,,This song is very uplifting...
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