Knoxville poet Nikki Giovanni reissues 1970s funk and soul albums

Knoxville’s hometown hero Nikki Giovanni has a treat awaiting her fans.

The American poet, writer, and activist has released three of her albums from the 1970s on vinyl for the first time, on the Modern Harmonic record label: “Truth Is On Its Way” (1971), “Like a Ripple on a Pond” (1973), and “The Way I Feel” (1975).

On the albums, Giovanni blends her own powerful poetry with funk and soul music performed by the New York Community Choir.

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Giovanni told Knox News she’s thrilled about the release, citing her love of gospel as the inspiration for the releases originally recorded in the 1970s.

Growing up in the Baptist church, she says the rhythmic nature of the music was something she always looked forward to hearing.

“I loved the spirituals and a good choir. There was this one song, ‘Peace Be Still’ by Rev. James Cleveland, that I just loved, and I thought that my poem ‘The Great Pax Whitey’ went right along with it. I thought it would be great to be able to do a performance.”

Knoxville native poet and activist Nikki Giovanni is releasing three of her albums from the 1970s. The releases feature contributions by the New York Community Choir, supporting vocalist Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney Houston) and producer Arif Mardin.

Giovanni said she turned to her good friend, famed producer Ellis Haizlip, best known as the creator, producer and host of the television variety show, “SOUL.”

“Ellis introduced me to Bennie Diggs and we made an arrangement to meet with the New York Community Choir in Harlem and we all just clicked right away.”

Cissy Houston, the mother of the late vocal legend Whitney Houston, sang background vocals on the record.