Who Are You?
Soul Liberation was borne from the ministry of Tom Skinner, a former gang-leader turned evangelical preacher from New York City. Tom Skinner toured the United States doing revival-style “Crusades,” at first using local choirs and bands as his backup. He eventually decided to recruit a band dedicated to his Crusades from musicians that he had worked with on his tours. From these auditions Soul Liberation came to be, with its members hailing from New York and the Midwest. Soul Liberation toured with Tom Skinner full-time for twenty years from 1973 to 1993, doing about 260 gigs a year, in a variety of venues (high schools, colleges, prisons, wherever Skinner was preaching). When not on tour, the men of Soul Liberation shared a house in the Bronx, while the women lived with their families. The group finally split in 1993, as the members settled down into family life.
Who Are You is Soul Liberation’s second album, following a self-titled release in 1974, and the single “Come Together – Harambe,” both released by the Creative Arts division of Tom Skinner Associates. The idea for Who Are You came when Bob Cline, at the time the manager of Rainbow Sound, Inc., a prolific gospel and Christian music label, heard Soul Liberation play. He invited the band to make a recording at the studio in Dallas, Texas. Jimmy Miller, the leader of the band, wrote the songs, and the album was recorded over two weeks in 1982.
The songs on Who Are You feature skilled modern soul instrumentals with gospel-inspired, Christian-themed lyrics rooted in the band’s raison d’être on the Crusades tours. Standout tracks include “Who Are You,” a slower jam that opens up to a keyboard solo before the final chorus, and the Chaka Kahn-inspired “Touch Me Again,” with a futuristic electric feel. In the decades after its release the combined quality, influence and rarity of this recording helped make Who Are You become a sleeper favorite of soul fans and a highly sought-after record by DJs and collectors.