Ron Dickerson and Tranquility: Working on the Building
Do You Know Jesus?
From S/T (New Day, 1977)
Harry Booker: Straight Ahead
From Let God Arise (Azure, 1982)
The Clinton Logan Singers: A Change Gonna Come
From Couldn’t Have Made This Journey Without You (Air, 197?)
The nice thing about finding a new genre to explore is that everything is new and whether rare or common, expensive or cheap, it’s really just about the music rather than being a completionist (that turn eventually comes but just not now). With gospel soul, I’m a total babe in the woods when it comes to having even a faint grasp of all the labels and artists involved but it’s been fun learning from scratch. Here’s some highlights from a trio of recent additions…
The Ron Dickerson and the Tranquility LP has a great “modern soul” sound to it – you hear it especially on the funkier, uptempo “Do You Know Jesus?” which is the stand-out cut on the album but I also enjoyed how “Working on the Building” was a real sleeper cut, especially when, quite surprisingly, the song dips into a short break section around 2:55. Get down for the lord! (Ron and the Tranquility’s pic graces the post, in case you were wondering who that was).
Harry Booker is even more modern, particularly with that post-disco/boogie groove. Honestly, if not for the lyrics, this would be indistinguishable from any other great boogie track from the same era. One of these days, I’ll have to see how this would go over on the dancefloor. The hook does sound like a dance, no? “Straight ahead!”
Last, I bought this Clinton Logan Singers LP on the strength of just one song but good god (pun intended), it’s sublime: a cover of “A Change Gonna Come” that’s a smart balance between the lead singer and the choir in the background. There’s many, many great covers of this Sam Cooke classic but I’d have to put this one up there with the best I’ve ever heard.