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Morning Song – Ninety-Nine And A Half Won’t Do

May 22, 2016

There are (at least) two ways to go about this faith-in-Jesus thing: one is to use it as a weapon pointed at others (and, coincidentally, protecting oneself from scrutiny), the other is to use it as an exhortation first to oneself and onlysecondarily—almost by way of example—to others.*

The great Dorothy Love Coates—who wrote “Ninety-Nine And A Half Won’t Do”, as well as dozens of other gospel songs that formed the foundation for soul hits (looking at you, Wilson Pickett)—falls into the latter school.

Her ragged, powerful voice (backed by the exquisite harmonies of the Original Gospel Harmonettes) isn’t asking you to do anything she isn’t asking of herself—just a little more effort, a little more courage to put into practice the teachings of her God…whatever the cost.

*”Preach the gospel always; use words if necessary” is how St. Francis of Assisi is supposed to have put it.

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