The East St. Louis Gospelettes: Have a Talk With God
Have Mercy On Me
From Love Is the Key (Birthright, 1977)

I got turned onto this LP by Brendan and it’s easily one of the best gospel soul albums I can think of in terms of bang for the buck. Besides these two cuts, there’s also a decent deep soul track and mostly, you have a stellar line-up of vocalists in the Gospelettes, including Frances Moore, who sings on “Have a Talk With God” and Sheryl Little, who is the featured soloist on “Have Mercy On Me.”

The first song reminds me something Weldon Irvine might have arranged, especially given the strong Rhodes presence (courtesy Jessie McDaniels). (Of course, only later did I realize – oh, duh, it’s a Stevie Wonder cover). I love how funky this is but understated at the same time. And “Have Mercy On Me” instantly grabs you with those piano keys (and yeah, Atmosphere sampled ’em) but the harmonized vocals that follow the intro are just as haunting and when Little’s low moan creeps its way in, you’re in the presence of something special.

I’m certainly encouraged to check out the group’s other albums; they started in the early ’70s with Chicago’s Checker before sliding south to Nashboro but this LP was, interestingly, for the Los Angeles-based Birthright Records.

BTW, gospel soul fans should check out Sir Shambling’s Deep Soul Heaven post on a theme that you know I’m all about, “Gospel Covers of Soul Songs.”