Numero’s latest in the Good God! series of gospel soul/funk albums might be my favorite yet. I’m, of course, slightly biased by the fact that they ended up using a song from an album that, years ago, I had suggested they reissue and I ended up helping them with the album scan that’s in the comp (Religious Souls). But really, this is absolutely up my alley in terms of gospel’s dip into deep soul. The fact that I even owned one (let alone three) of the albums/singles featured on here is partial evidence of that (on the last two Good God! comps, I’m not sure I had any prior to hearing them). Here’s some of the highlights on their latest.
Songs from Good God! Apocryphal Hymns (Numero Group, 2013).
The Religious Souls: Sinner Man
From Sinner Man (Artist’s Recording, 197?)
I’m still convinced there’s gotta be a way for someone to devote an entire comp to the Kingcannon family. There’s no shortage of material out there, for certain. “Sinner Man” was never my go-to track for them but listening to this again? Perhaps it should have been. So damn good, especially the harmonies.
Shelton Kirby: Poor Wayfaring Stranger
From Yield Not (Bee Gee, 1973)
So, uh, I’ve owned this LP for years and I’m not sure how I never connected the fact that it’s a gospel album. Gorgeous electric piano work; makes you want to melt into the song.
The Gospel Clouds: Let Us Pray
From 7″ (Spectrum, 197?)
This is one of my #1 wants in any genre. It’s just an amazing cut on so many levels, but especially all that analog synth work. Pity this thing is insanely rare though. The fact that it’s a Bay Area record only makes me love it more.
I should also note that Numero also took this comp as an opportunity to pay tribute to the private press labels out there. The CD label, for example, is a flip on the old Century custom label logo and apparently, the album has different covers, all taken from stock images that you’ll see on dozens, if not hundreds, of gospel LPs from this era.
As it is, I recently wrote about custom labels for KCET’s ArtBound, on the occasion of the release of this new book, Enjoy the Experience, put out by Sinecure Books. For the piece, I ended up interviewing Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, Sinecure co-founder and creator of Now-Again as well as Thes One since both of them are heavy private press collectors. Fun story to work on but also poignant in challenging how we think about the “official” musical record. Read my story, cop the book.
The Shelton Kirby record is golden. Good stuff.
Indeed, the Shelton Kirby is golden. It has a special quality to its feel that gives it that unique ability to transcend the situation. This is the kind of track that could play background to waking up…going through a breakup.. or even making love.
For some reason this track’s pensive feel reminds me of the scene in “Rocky” where Rocky gets home to his apartment after a hard day(obviously a lonely person), turns on Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness” and speaks quietly to his turtles and to himself and tries to escape into the music. It’s a poignant moment and feeling that only the music could convey. “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” is the kind of track that could convey the deep poignancy of the quiet moments in life.