started in the
Upon graduation from Livingstone he returned home to Wilkesboro, NC where he, under the tutelage of Gertrude Robinson (Ms. Gert) recorded his first album, the “Rickard’s Chapel Gospel Choir.” It was recorded at The Harry Deal Recording Studio in Taylorsville, NC. Five hundred copies were printed.
It was not long after that when Cockerham was hired to produce
an album for the First Baptist Church Junior Choir also in Wilkesboro.
It was titled, “The Soul-Stirring Youth Choir of First Baptist Church.”
The First Baptist Church was a little livelier. The choir was larger.
James moved to Atlanta and in less than two weeks had started playing the piano for Shaw Temple A.M.E. Zion church. During the first two or three years in Atlanta, he would return “home” to Wilkesboro at least once per month. He volunteered to write, arrange, and produce another album with the Rickard’s Chapel Choir. He collaborated with Gertrude Robinson, Sylvia Robinson, and Floyd Barber on this project. The album was named, “Rickard’s Chapel Gospel Choir presents James Cockerham. It was his home church’s way of providing James with a professional musical reference.
The next recording project was with the Shaw Temple A.M.E.
Zion Gospel Chorus. James again volunteered to write, arrange, and produce
an album as a fund raising project for the church. An original composition
became the name of that recording project, “Let Thy Will
“God Is Ever Moving On” was the first live recording by Cockerham. It was also the first album of his newly formed Copro Record Company, Inc. He pulled together members from Shaw Temple Gospel Chorus, Rickard’s Chapel Gospel Choir, Genesis Gospel Singers, The Howard Sisters, and the W.A. Potter Choir to record an original LP with all but one song being his original compositions.
The Genesis Gospel Singers, a six member group, recorded a 45rpm record called, “I’ll Drink the Water” written by Cockerham. Sheryl Wade collaborated with him on the song, “Take Me Home to Stay.”
Alveda King-Beal and Cockerham collaborated on several songs.
He produced an instrumental and vocal 45rpm version of Beal’s composition,
“Let Freedom Ring.” The instrumental version was by Cockerham
and the vocal performance of the song was by Robin
Cockerham produced a project for Russell Williams and Universal
The sixth and last album produced and recorded by Cockerham
was “Lifted.” It was recorded with the Shaw Temple Gospel
“Come Home” is a three act musical based on the biblical story of the prodigal son written by Angela Harris and Cockerham. It contains thirty-three original compositions. The musical has been performed throughout the southeastern United States.
No albums were produced by Cockerham from 1984 until 1998. It was December 1998 when Cockerham wrote, produced, and released his first CD, “Nobody Like Jesus” with BASIC. This eight song CD marks the beginning of his second musical voyage. It was recorded with some of Atlanta’s finest voices. BASIC is an acronym for Brothers and Sisters in Christ and is the name given to the vocal artists on this CD. Arietha Lockhart is a featured soloist on this CD. Arietha has appeared as soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Robert Shaw Chambers Singers and Festival Singers, and the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, the Aspen Opera Theatre and we heard her voice as she sang the part of the butterfly during the opening of the 1996 olympics in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Lockhart sings Cockerham’s arrangement of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent” on this CD.
Meditation is the first instrumental CD Cockerham has recorded. Morning
Meditation, a 10-song Christian instrumental CD of quiet, soothing music,
is the culmination of nearly two years of work. Music lovers will find
not only piano solos on “Take Me Back“ and “There‘s
Something about that Name,” but also piano, bass, guitar, drums,
strings and horns that Cockerham orchestrated on old favorites like “Be
Grateful,” “I Surrender All,” “Give Me a Clean
Heart” and Hear Our Prayer, Oh Lord.” You will hear piano,
bass guitar, and drums softly playing “Sweet Hour of Prayer,”
“Blessed Assurance,” and “Just As I Am.” Cockerham
hopes individuals and churches will play the CD as background music as
they pray, and he envisions people relaxing to it after a stressful day
at work, or just for meditation. The CD was recorded at Cockerham’s
home studio. He plays all instruments
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