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Willie Banks and the Messengers: If It Had Not Been For Jesus
On My Way
From God’s Goodness (HSE, 197?)

There’s an old adage that the way you find a good funk LP is to look for an Afro on the cover. For gospel, I wonder if the equivalent is looking for stock photography and plain typology. For small press releases, there just wasn’t a big budget for marketing; you may have noticed this Banks LP uses the same stock photo as the Soulful Sons of Zion release I wrote about on Day 1. The upside though is that I’ve come to associate these covers with a similar musical approach: low budget, small band but it’s been part of the sound of these albums that I’ve enjoyed so much.

This album, in particular, has some interesting compositions that, to me, remind me that while you can talk about “white gospel” and “black gospel,” there’s as many points of crossover as there are points of difference. It’s easy to forget that the roots of blues, country, rock and R&B share much more in common than a segregated record industry may suggest but songs like “If It Had Not Been For Jesus” and “On My Way” sound like they could just have easily been recorded by a white church band.