The Edwin Hawkins Singers – He’s A Friend of Mine (Buddah 203 033) (1969)

A couple weeks ago I was talking to an antique dealer in Tenterden. He is also a record collector and reckoned there were about five dealers in the Ashford area who he meets regularly at bootfairs. Sometimes he wins out, sometimes one of the other guys (and it’s always guys). These men arrive when the bootfair opens (usually 7 a.m. round these parts) and scoop up any goodies before those that relish sleeping in on Sundays. Now, I’ve done fairly well for myself getting to bootfairs around 9 a.m., but lately I’ve felt that if I’m going more decent stuff I really need to get up and out a lot earlier.

It did not happen today. I was at a party late last night, with its attendant excesses and didn’t get to Ashford Orbital Bootfair till 10:30, by which time many stall holders had left. Damn. Maybe next week. At least I found this lovely virtually mint condish Edwin Hawkins record.

Let’s see, fish-eye photo, electric puce tops for the ladies, vintage Hofner violin bass, Golden Gate Bridge symbolically in the background, yes this is a late sixties gospel record when suddenly God was in vogue in the pop charts. In fact, He’s a Friend of Mine was recorded after the spine tingling “Oh Happy Day” but released prior to that 1968 song’s really hitting in ’69-’70. The singing is echo-laden, repetitive and energetic, ecstatic even, the backing is muscular, and off-beat hand claps make a regular appearance. This is (relatively) big budget, tightly controlled stuff, in contrast to earthier fare offered recently by the Numero Group and Light In the Attic.

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Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] second appearance in these pages, this is the Lp that made him and his singers famous. Despite the liner notes […]


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