It’s Easter, which signals the arrival of another Saved! mix. Last year’s mix covered the 1950s, with both gospel and secular acts doing their praising. This mix has only two gospel acts, The Rance Allen Group and The Relatives, both doing their praising in the easy of soul/funk music.
Rance Allen and his pals convert Archie Bell & the Drells’s song about a dancing contest, the promised showdown will be righteous. The Relatives have featured before, Saved! Vol. 2, which was all soul music. The gospel-funk-soul group recorded in the first half of the 1970s in Texas. Led by the Reverend Gean West, they released just three singles. “Leave Something Worthwhile’ remained unreleased until the small Hum Records label put out a collection of The Relatives’ released and unreleased material in 2009. Buy it HERE.
Among all the 1950s acts on Saved! Vol. 4 were The Staple Singers, with a track from 1959. Two of them return on this mix with a track from 1994. Pops co-wrote “Hope In A Hopeless World” for his 1994 album Father Father, and duets on it with daughter Mavis. Had Pops left her off, a Mavis Staples might have featured from last year’s very good On True Vine album, another Jeff Tweedy production.
That song might have been opener ”Holy Ghost”, which is not the same song as the funk work by The Bar Kays featured here. The Bar Kays’ song is seriously funky, and features a great drumming outro. And for a fantastic drum break, check out Chi Coltrane’s version of The Clique’s 1969 song. I don’t know who the drummer was. It could have been any of Jim Keltner, Steve Parsons, Barry De Souza, Chris Karen or, indeed, Jim Gordon (who, of course, was the subject of two mixes recently).
We encountered The 8th Day recently on the Any Major Soul 1971 mix. Their contribution to that mix was really 100 Proof (Aged in Soul) by another name. After the pseudonymous group had attracted some notice, label owners Holland-Dozier-Holland formed a proper 8th Day; it is from that incarnation that we hear the very funky “Heaven Is Here To Guide Us”, a track which labelmates The Glass House had recorded a year earlier.
South African singer and songwriter John Kongos is better known for being the original singer of The Happy Mondays’ 1990 hit “Step On” (though in his version it is “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”) and “Tokoloshe Man” than he is for doing religion. “Come On Down Jesus” might have been one of those Jesus songs that were fashionable in the days when Jesus Christ Superstar hit — as was Barry Ryan’s “Sanctus, Sanctus Hallelujah”, featured here, or The Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus Is All Right”. But several of Kongos’ lyrics can be interpreted as having a Christian subtext.
Finally, Billy Preston’s version of “My Seet Lord” is the original recording of the song. Written in December 1969, it first appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album, which also included Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” (a song which the Beatles had considered of recording), almost a year before that song would provide the title of the triple-LP set.
Preston’s version is much closer to Harrison’s original concept than the composer’s own take. In his defence during the My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine plagiarism case, Harrison said that he was inspired not by early-’60s girlband pop, but by the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 hit “Oh Happy Day”. That influence is acutely apparent on Preston’s recording, but less so on Harrison’s chart-topper. Indeed, had Preston scored the big hit with it, not Harrison, it might have been Ed Hawkins initiating the plagiarism litigation.
As always the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-praised covers. PW in comments. Happy Easter/Excessive Chocolate Consumption Day!
1. Chi Coltrane – Hallelujah (1974)
2. The Rance Allen Group – There’s Gonna Be A Showdown (1972)
3. The Relatives – Leave Something Worthwhile (1970s)
4. Donny Hathaway – Lord Help Me (1973)
5. Pops Staples – Hope in a Hopeless World (1994)
6. The Persuasions – Dry Bones (2000)
7. Ben Harper & Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Picture Of Jesus (2003)
8. The Holmes Brothers – I Surrender All (1995)
9. Steve Earle – God Is God (2011)
10. Mindy Smith – Out Loud (2006)
11. Amos Lee – Cup Of Sorrow (2011)
12. Patty Griffin – We Shall Be Reunited (2010)
13. Dolly Parton – Shine On (1998)
14. Barry Ryan – Sanctus, Sanctus Hallelujah (1972)
15. John Kongos – Come On Down Jesus (1971)
16. The 8th Day – Heaven Is Here To Guide Us (1973)
17. The Bar-Kays – Holy Ghost (1978)
18. Curtis Mayfield – A Prayer (1974)
19. Billy Preston – My Sweet Lord (1970)
20. Tashan – Thank You Father (1987)