#039;Mighty Clouds of Joy#039; perform tonight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2003

What better way to kick off a weekend with your family than going to an old-fashioned gospel concert?

Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Cattleman Building at Cattleman's Park, the Mighty Clouds of Joy from Los Angeles, Calif., will treat Pike County to an evening of Grammy award-winning music.

Lead singer Joe Ligon was born in Troy and lived here until he was a teenager, when he moved to Los Angeles.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ligon's nephew, Will Smith, still lives in Troy and he said he wanted to bring something special to town in conjunction with the Academy Street school reunion.

Smith said it wasn't hard at all to talk his uncle into coming back for a performance.

"He said he'd love to come home and do that; he was thrilled to do it," Smith said.

Formed in 1955, the Mighty Clouds of Joy have quite a history in gospel music. The group was even the first gospel group to perform on "Soul Train" and their sound has redefined gospel music.

The group has performed with Marvin Gay, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire, the Rolling Stones, Gene Autry, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles and the list goes on. The Clouds have even appeared before Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. Over the course of their career, the members have been nominated for 11 Grammy awards, winning three.

Smith even wanted to sing himself, and dabbles in it now and then. He said it is nice to have a relative as well known as Ligon who still keeps in touch with his roots.

"It's nice to have somebody like that who still keeps in contact with you and talks to you," he said.

Sharing the spotlight with this gospel icon is The Singing Angels from Eufaula, The Holy Five from Dothan, The Flying Clouds from Brundidge, The Mississippi Blind Boys, Debra and Erika Ligon from Los Angeles and The Curry Sisters from Troy. The Sensational Zoinettes from LaPine.

Tickets are on sale at Rachel Sheik Boutique Styling Salon and Shout of Jericho Book Store both in Troy.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $6 at the door.

The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m.