Charles May and Annette May Thomas: More Faith Is What It Takes
From Songs Our Father Used to Sing (Gospel Truth, 1973)
It’s time to bring it back to some soul. I forget, from time to time, that this site is called Soul Sides and while I’m more than happy to bring out the jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, etc. sometimes, what you need in your life is just some goddamn good soul.
This is the story behind today’s post…one of my favorite 45s is this gospel-soul single called “Keep My Baby Warm” which I originally put up back during the Soul Hut collaboration of Oct. 04. I found this single randomly at a store in S.F. and I just loved how it perfectly fused soulful gospel with a surprisingly strong rhythm section – one of the best I had ever heard. Since then, I’ve been trying to find the album it appeared on (assuming there was one) and the other week, I finally got my hands on it.
Some background: Charles and Annette are two of the children of Brother Joe May, a prolific and renown gospel singer of the 1950s and ’60s. Upon their father’s passing in 1972, Charles and Annette – both of them gifted musicians and singers in their own right – got together and released this album as a tribute to him (most of the songs were composed by Charles though there is a long medley of Joe May songs on the album as well).
They hooked up with The Gospel Truth, a Stax subsidiary, to help produce the album that explains why the rhythm section is so impressive. Seriously, check this out: Wilton Felder on bass, David Walker on guitar, Bobbye Hall on Congas, Louie Shelton on rhythm guitar and on drums? None other than Mr. Cool Aid Chemist himself, Paul Humphrey.
“More Faith” isn’t quite as good as “Keep My Baby Warm” (if you missed it the first time, don’t fret, it’ll be coming back in one form or another, hint hint) but it’s still great, opening with a slick interplay between Humphrey and Charles May on piano. Annette lets loose with the vocals, backed by the Jackson Ensemble and possibly also the 21st Century (Charles’ secular band) and “the celebrity voices of…” Edna Wright, Rueben Franklin and Oma Drake. Put it all together and the song would make me want to get up early on Sunday for church. Testify!
(By the way, I have a new job so I’m a lil busy these days. I’m trying to keep up with my posting but until I get my bearings on all this new work down, your patience is appreciated).