May 29, 2014
By Hasan James
The gospel world has lost another great musician in the person of Melvin Crispell. Truthfully, it doesn’t even feel right typing it but it is true. Just two days ago like the rest of the world, Melvin paid his respects upon hearing of the death of poet Maya Angelou via Facebook and a day later he was gone. Details of how Melvin passed away are still sketchy, however, a source close to the family stated that Melvin was in a car accident last week and had to have an operation to remove glass from his foot. Melvin was diabetic, therefore, he lost a considerable amount of blood and as a result his blood pressure was extremely high, ultimately causing his death.
Brooklyn’s Own Melvin Crispell was one of the baddddddest organist on the planet and was also a prolific songwriter. As a member of The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, I had the privilege of singing all of the songs that he wrote throughout my 13 years with the choir and I personally loved all of them; with Jesus Is My Help being my personal favorite. The thing that amazed me most about Melvin’s writing ability was how he was able to write songs for both WAP and Love Fellowship and one song did not sound like the other. In retrospect, Melvin’s songwriting contributions helped shape a certain sound most notably for James Hall and Worship and Praise. Some of Hall’s biggest songs were penned by Crispell. See below for a short list of songs that Melvin wrote for James Hall & WAP:
1. I’m Not The Same- From the album “According to James Hall Chapter III
2. The Storm- From the album “God Is In Control”
3. Caught Up- From the album “King of Glory”
4. If He Never Does Anything Else- From the album “Live from New York at Lincoln Center”
5. Anything But Fail- From the album “Live from New York at Lincoln Center”
6. He’s Sweet I Know- From the album “Live from New York at Lincoln Center”
7. Oh Give Thanks- From the album “Live from New York at Lincoln Center”
8. All I Need- From the album “According to James Hall Chapter III
9. Gain The World- From the album “God Is In Control”
10. What He’s Done For Me- From the album “God Is In Control”
In true Brooklyn fashion, Melvin also wrote hit songs for Grammy Award winner Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. See if any of these songs ring a bell:
1. Let The Redeemed- From the album “Focus On Glory”
2. I’ll Be Satisfied- From the album “Live In New York….By Any Means”
3. Jesus Is My Help- From the album “Live in London at Wembley”
4. I’m Waiting- From the album “Live in London at Wembley”
5. Wonderful Is Your Name- From the album “Family Affair”
6. What A Mighty God We Serve- From the album “Family Affair 2, Live at Radio City Music Hall”
In 2009, Melvin released a CD entitled “He’s Able” with his group “Testimony.” The CD was a collage of songs he had written mostly for James Hall and Hezekiah Walker but with a twist. The album gave songs like “Jesus Is My Help” and “Caught Up” new life and was well received by the fans.
Funeral arrangements are still pending. Please keep Melvin’s wife, singer Tunesha Crispell, their son, and the rest of his family in your prayers. Melvin Crispell was 44.