Pee-Wee and the Psalmsters: Be That Way Sometimes b/w
Down By the Riverside
On 7″ (Carrie, 197?)
The Week Sisters: What Will It Be Like
On 7″ (HSE, 197?)
Swan Mellarks: One Day I Was Walking
On 7″ (Valberst, 196?)
The Souls of Solomon: Help Me Lord
From S/T (Gladys, 197/8?)
Andrew Wartts and the Gospel Storytellers: There Is A God Somewhere
Peter and John
From There Is A God Somewhere (Champ, 197?)
I thought I had exhausted most of my worthwhile gospel after all the Holy Ghost posts from the beginning of the month but what a difference a few weeks make.
The Pee-Wee and the Psalmsters 7″ is one of those rare, un-googleable titles even though the group itself is hardly obscure. However, they’re best known for having recorded for HSE and this 7″ appears on another Nashville imprint, Carrie (far as I can tell, they were a Georgia group however). A lovely pairing here, beginning with “Be That Way Sometimes” which boasts those gorgeous vocals from the female back-up before Pee-Wee comes in with the main verses. Flipside comes with a hard-driving bassline and builds tension slowly with a smokin’ blues touch.
The Week Sisters also hail from the South – South Carolina if I’m not mistaken – and here’s what I assume to be a mid-70s side they cut for HSE. Simple but soulful (good bassline!). (Thanks to Ann Arbor’s Aaron Anderson for this one).
The Swan Mellarks just screams Chicago blues (and as it is, Valberst is a Chi-town label). Wish my copy was just a touch cleaner but man, how deep does this run?
The Souls of Solomon is one of those albums where it helps to flip to the back cover. The front makes it look like some private press New Age/Xian LP but flip to the back and it’s like a yearbook page from some Black high school in Buffalo. The LP has drawn the interest of boogie fans and when you throw on “Help Me Lord,” you can understand why.
Last but not least, we head back to Chicago to arrive in Bloomington, where the Andrew Wartts and the Gospel Storyteller LP was recorded. This LP has had a fanbase for a minute and anyone who picked up Numero Group’s excellent Born Again Funk has already heard the marvel that is the James Brown-influenced “Peter and John.” I was very surprised to learn this LP is from the early ’80s; the sound of it seems far closer to the ’70s or even earlier and I can see why it’s been in such high demand from the gospel soul community. (Thanks to Dante and Cool Chris on that tip). The only real drawback to the original LP is that it was somehow recorded with a high-pitched whine; it’s not inherent in the pressing since the whine only appears on the songs themselves (and not in the space between songs) and while I’m sure my older ears have lost some frequency recognition, I can certainly pick it up and if you listen to Numero’s recording of “Peter and John” it’s there too. However, I decided to try using Sound Studio 3‘s graphic equalizer tool to just kill the frequency of the whine and I think I managed a decent job with it. You do lose a touch of the vocal fidelity; you can’t just take out a few layers of frequencies and not expect to lose something in the process but overall, it didn’t seem too bad. (Note: in line with most of this post, Champ is a Nashville label).