Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dorothy Norwood's 1996 rendition of "Brick House"

In 1996, Caravans alum Dorothy Norwood recorded a version of the Commodores' 1977 hit, "Brick House", for the soundtrack to the motion picture, My Fellow Americans. For sixteen years, this recording has been largely forgotten, until YouTube user gsj612 uploaded the song on April 26th.  Since then, the recording has been shared across social networks and has gained a nice amount of views in that short period of time.

The song itself isn't much to write home about. Musically, it sounds like your typical mid 90s fare of the cheesy variety, and in the end, it's just one of numerous covers of "Brick House." The only difference here is this time, the artist who covered the song was one who got her start during the Golden Era of Gospel. Responses to the recording have varied. Some listeners thought the juxtaposition of the lady deemed in gospel circles as "the World's Greatest Storyteller" working it out to "Brick House" was hilarious, while others didn't think highly of the recording at all due to production values or disapproval of a gospel artist singing a secular song. My reaction upon first hearing the song was laughter, because when I hear the name Dorothy Norwood, "Brick House" doesn't come to mind, but rather "The Denied Mother", "Victory Is Mine" and "Old School Boulevard."

This shouldn't take anyone as a surprise, as this was not Dorothy's first time dabbling in the secular pool. Although her performance was purely gospel, Dorothy toured with the Rolling Stones as their opening act during a 30 state American tour in 1972, and introduced many people to her distinctive brand of gospel music who wouldn't have otherwise known about it.

Dorothy Norwood has enjoyed a long, storied career, from joining the Caravans in 1956, composing "Ride On, King Jesus" in 1957, going solo in the 1960s and enjoying numerous albums and concert appearances until the present day. Dorothy is still a crowd pleaser, and doesn't have much difficulty in pleasing her fanbase. Uncovering this song probably won't have a negligible impact on her career, but we'll probably have a few goofballs in the audience at her upcoming appearances shouting "sing Brick House!"

Click below to hear the rendition for yourself.

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