As the New Orleans Musicians Clinic celebrates 25 years of having the privilege of providing medical care to our musicians, performers and culture bearers, we are deeply honored that two of our cherished local musicians, Detroit and his wife, Kanako Fuwa Brooks, composed and recorded a hymn to benefit our mission.
Please join us at the Gospel Tent, Friday, April 28 at 1 pm when Detroit will join the famed local choir director, Dwight Fitch, and Shades of Praise for the world premiere of “Lord, We Need Thee.”
Downloads of the studio recording to benefit the NOMC+25 and beyond include more than 30 noted local musicians.
Many of you know Detroit Brooks as the guiding force behind the annual Danny Barker Festival and a consummate session musician. Others know him as a virtuoso performer from Trad Jazz Banjo to New Age Jazz, Funk and R&B guitar and vocals.
Photo Credit: Eric Waters
Detroit says that he was inspired to write this composition as a prayer. “We are beat down by pandemics, social and political unrest, the plagues of racism, gentrification that is destroying our Black cultural community and causing housing insecurities, violence and 24/7 “car jackings,” he notes.
Like so many of famed New Orleans’ musicians, singers and songwriters, Detroit Brooks’ life is rooted in Bible Belt gospel. He grew up in the Ninth Ward and Mid-City surrounded by music. As a teen he and his sister and brothers began touring with his acclaimed gospel legend father, George A. Brooks, Sr. of the famous Masonic Kings (originally formed in Brooks, Sr.’s home town of Natchez, Mississippi). Detroit honed his guitar technique on the road where gospel performances are “free and continuous” and could go on for hours and hours, as the spirit of the Lord directed the performance. Not only did he tour with his Dad, but his sister, the late NOMC patient advocate, the world-famous Juanita Brooks (1954-2009) with Juanita’s Gospel Express. He did other stints touring with legends Clarence Fountain & the Five, the Blind Boys, Raymond Myles and The Rams, the Zion Harmonizers and a host of others.
For his NOMC benefit hymn, Detroit was inspired to create a prayer by scripture, 2 Chronicle 7:14 “If my people who are called by name would humble themselves, and pray, seek my face, turn from their wicked way, then will I hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” It brought to mind the power of resilient people- our community when knocked down by life’s horrific circumstances, choose to resist and persist, moving forward, trusting, and believing that God will protect their path. Having lost his home and all his music to 11 feet of water in the Katrina (2005) floods, Detroit and his family are true culture bearers who keep the heart and soul of our community alive. We are so honored that he created a prayer for NOMC’s medical mission to empower us to continue to serve as a guiding light to keep our music ALIVE. He assembled more than 30 local musicians for the recording.
Juanita Brooks, the famed jazz, R&B and gospel singer was perhaps best known for her stint in the extremely popular stage production, “One Mo’ Time.” She served as a dedicated NOMC advocate. Tragically, she died unexpectedly at the age of 55 on September 9, 2009 of complications from back surgery.
Photo Credit: Keith Marszalek, Music Rising at Tulane, The Musical Cultures of the Gulf South
To his prayer, he added a steel drum to the rhythm instruments-giving that “don’t worry about a thing, be happy” Afro- Caribbean feeling. “Lord, We Need Thee” closes with a slow dirge-ending in a manner that symbolizes the solution, and burying, of these global, catastrophic events.