Albums Gospel

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (T 273) (1963)

SAM_0384According to Lewisohn, young Ringo Starr saw Tharpe perform at the Cavern on 12th April 1958 and thought her guitar playing wonderful.  Good enough for Richy, good enough for me.

I got this World Record Club re-issue of US Cornet’s Gospels In Rhythm (1960) album yesterday for one pound only.

Albums Gospel

The Original Roberta Martin Singers (LP 480)

SAM_0274Though it appears to be the original 1959 Kenwood/Apollo edition, this is actually the Nashboro re-issue from sometime in the early 70s (to judge by the label). Warm piano, solo and choir gospel picked up last week for a pound from Demelza House in Hythe; makes for excellent Sunday morning communing.SAM_0275The “Factory Sealed For Your Protection” (for my protection, how so?) sticker is actually there to cover up the drill hole underneath. Cheeky.SAM_0276

Albums Gospel

The Chuck Wagon Gang – Songs of Faith and Glory (HL 7421) (1967)

SAM_0152No psychedelic sun can disguise how hopelessly out-of-fashion this must have seemed back in 1967. But produced by Don Law, the same man responsible for recording Robert Johnson, Songs of Faith is a numinous bluegrass-style close harmony gospel Lp (a mono edition on Columbia Records budget subsidiary, Harmony) that transcends its age; happened apon at a Sue Ryder Woonsorg bookshop for €2 during an Asbo Family getaway in Brugge, Belgium while on half term*.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the town’s elegance, I also found what must be the world’s most handsome record shop in the heart of the old city. Specialising in Classical and Jazz (I picked up the Bill Evans Trio’s vivacious Sunday At the Village Vanguard), Rombaux held a pop-rock section of inverse proportions to what one usually sees at a music store. Even Mrs Asbo was impressed, commenting that she wouldn’t mind accompanying me record shopping if they all looked like that.

Interestingly, the three Brugge record shops I went into were all run by women, don’t know if this is a thing or just coincidence.

*Our first attempt to leave the country last Sunday night was halted by St. Jude.

7 inchers Americana Blues Folk Gospel

Bob Dylan – “Precious Angel” b/w “Trouble In Mind” (S CBS 7828) (1979)


(Columbus, Ohio) — Fans of Bob Dylan were yesterday treated to a concert at The Value City Arena in the Jerome Schottenstein Center where the star apparently, and really we’re just guessing here, remembered all the lyrics to all of the songs he performed.

“It’s not an easy thing to do,” explained long-time Dylan watcher Gary DeSoto. “His songs are absolutely jam-packed lyrically. So, judging only by the rhythm of his vocalisations, I’d say, pretty much, he sang all the correct words in the correct order.”

Others concert-goers were equally impressed: “It’s hard to say for sure, given that he sounds like he’s swallowed a bag of ten-penny nails,” enthused Jaden Carver. “But I know he sang the right number of verses when he did ‘Desolation Row’ so, it seems in all likelihood, he got all the [lyrics] right.”

Audience members remained particularly impressed that Dylan seemed to sing the entirety of brooding Slow Train Coming-era non-Lp b-side, “Trouble In Mind”. “I’d completely forgotten the song existed,” gushed Fi Green, “and here’s ol’ Bob, quite possibly, singing accurately the whole thing.”

While they certainly could be forgiven for being unwilling to be 100% categorical in the matter, everyone interviewed for this story said they believed it was probable that Dylan appeared, for all intents and purposes, to recall and deliver the entire lyrical content of the repertoire he performed yesterday evening in the Schott, though one listener ventured that the veteran folk singer may have switched to Mandarin Chinese at one point during “Love Sick“.

A spokesman for Columbia records could neither confirm or deny that Dylan managed to remember the words to all the songs he sung last night: “Well, if you say so,” he said. “Then, sure, anything’s possible.”


Editor’s note: I rate Dylan’s Christian records highly, so any chance to further glimpse behind the scenes, I go for. Maybe the Bootleg Series Volume 11 will delve a bit deeper.

Albums Gospel Soul

Sam Cooke – The Man And His Music (PL 87127[2]) (1986)


Like his contemporary Ray Charles, Sam Cooke found a way to infuse his music with a gospel tinge that translated into popular acclaim. The difference is that Charles kept the gritty, raucous feel of a Sunday meetin’, at least on his Atlantic sides, while Cooke seemed bent on making records designed to appeal to a cross-section of the country. To my taste, despite the grace (perfection, even) of the man’s voice and phrasing, Cooke’s early pop novelties are too smooth, too ingratiating to work as anything more than pleasant Capital Gold fodder.

SAM_0041The music released with the Soul Stirrers during the first half of the 1950s (as evidenced by the Peace In the Valley CD I bought with Mrs. Asbo last week) prior to the headlong dive into commercial waters was already fully mature, has dated less and resonates far more deeply. And yet, so too do his final performances (on the fourth side of best of Lp pictured which I purchased the weekend before), especially the glorious “A Change Is Gonna Come”. It’s as if his innovations were a few years too early; so, again for me, the music that most resembles classic 60s soul is the most satisfying. It sounds he was just hitting another artistic peak when he was killed.

Albums Disco Gospel Soul

The Tymes – Tyme’s Up (RS 1027) (1976)

tymesA parking meter run out of change in a graveyard, the Tyme’s Up cover’s visual gag is less ham-fisted than its smooth, percussion-rich music which features members of not only TSOP (horns and strings) but TSONY (rhythm – “under the outstanding leadership of Bernard Purdie”), as well as a mix courtesy of “father of the disco mix” Tom Moulton. A deft combination of winsome romance, (“If I Can’t Make You Smile”), party disco (“To the Max[imum]”, “Only Your Love”), heartfelt gospel (“Good Morning Dear Lord”) and combinations of the above (“God’s Gonna Punish You”), The Tymes are a long-running vocal group in the vein of the Trammps, Tavares, O’Jays, etc., etc., etc.

Note to producer Billy Jackson, dramatic spoken introductions should be use sparingly.

7 inchers Beatles Related Gospel

Billy Preston – “That’s The Way God Planned It” b/w “What About You” (Apple 12) (1969)

Hmmm, let’s have a look at today’s headlines: Jihadi veterans of Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan join callow foreign idealists on frontline of Aleppo…Reports suggest as many as 2,000 workers involved in fight at Foxconn factory in China…Former England football captain John Terry has retired from international football, blaming the FA for making his position ‘untenable’…Shares in the sports chain JJB Sports suspended as investors refuse to stump up any extra cash to save the company…Report on global warming warns of global food insecurity as Persian Gulf, Libya, and Pakistan expected to be hardest hit…Woman pronounced dead at the scene after branch falls during wet and windy weather conditions in London…Steven Gerrard says Liverpool have not been good enough this season but believes it is not time to panic yet….

No worries though, that’s the way God planned it. That’s the way God wants it to be, apparently.

I had a US copy of this sans picture sleeve, and so couldn’t resist the UK version with cover art of this quite good George H. produced gospel. Especially for 25 pee.

Albums Gospel Wimpy Ass 70s Folk Rock

Cloud – Free To Fly (Dove 16) (1975)

This is the sort of album from which Jonny Trunk would glean one track (I nominate “Search Me”) as part of a good Wimpy Ass 70s English Folk Gospel compilation. In the case of a whole Cloud Lp, no matter how well-played and sung it is or how clever the arrangements are, the lyrics, which are obvious and seem entirely scriptural based, offer little insight into the writers’ interpretation of the Word and staid, a-little-too-pleased-with-themselves performances tender none of the ecstatic release often associated with the best gospel.

Free To Fly caught my eye by dint of its packaging. Good photographs, artfully arranged. Lovely water-colour cover. Lyric insert and more snaps inside. A lot of care went in to the production of this album.

Albums Gospel

Ken Parker – Sacred Songs – ‘I Shall Not Be Moved’ (Pisces TKD/7) (1984)

With nary a skank in sight, reggae singer Ken Parker made a gospel record devoid of riddim and sounds as if “I Shall Not Be Moved” was not meant to convey faith and steadfastness but rather inertia. An interesting concept, Parker contrived to segue seven songs per side in a kind of folk-medley. Unfortunately, he and producer K. Farquharson achieved this by keeping the melodies simple, the accompaniment bland and the pace snail’s four square. One wishes it hadn’t come from a Jamaican. I will seek immediate solace in the form of Cornell Campbell’s dynamic and dubwise Bunny Lee-produced version of the title song. 

Removed from Demelza House this afternoon for 50p. In fact, their records are a pound, but all I had was half that, so they let it go at a discount. “If you’re inclined,” they said, “You can put 50p in the collection box next time you’re here.” I will.

Albums Gospel

The Gospel Ayers – I Wanna Testify (Contour 2870 448) (1975)

Not so off-puttingly echo-y as the last Edwin Hawkins Lp reviewed, this VG++ condish choral album is a great example of soul influencing gospel rather than the other way around, especially in the rhythm section where the electric bass and drums are that much louder. Comprised of US Air Force personel stationed at an RAF base in the UK (?!), there’s plenty of traditional material and enough of a hint of Good God! funk on I Wanna Testify to satisfy gospel and soul purists respectively.

Another installment recounting last week’s Demelza bumper crop.