Saved! Vol. 1
Easter is coming, so it seems righteous to post the first in a series of great Christian music that, I hope, will lift the spirits of the believer, and make those who don’t believe wish they would, if even for the duration of a song.
This mix comprises gospel, soul, blues, funk and country, stretching from the late 1920s to the early 1970s. Some of the featured artists will be better known in other genres, some of them got their start in gospel music. Among them is Sly Stone, who as Sylvester Stewart was a child member of The Sylvester Four, a band of brothers who in 1952 released their only single. Another child star was Shirley Caesar, whose contribution here was recorded when she was 13 years old. Now in her 70s, she is still performing.
Like the future Sly Stone, soul pioneer Ann Cole also made a start as a member of a family band, under her birthname Cynthia Coleman with The Colemanaires.
Aretha Franklin’s secular career started slowly, with a string of unsatisfactory record in the early ’60s before she broke through on Atlantic in the latter half of that decade. Before all that, in 1957 she released an album of sacred songs, Songs Of Faith, on which Yield Not To Temptation appeared.
Before Motown produced The Temptations, The Supremes and The Four Tops there were the optimistically named Gospel Stars. He Lifted Me, released in 1961, was Motown’s first gospel record (Gordy later founded the Divinity subsidiary for religious stuff), and their debut album, even more optimistically titled The Great Gospel Stars, was the label’s first ever album release. Also recorded for Motown, Marvin Gaye’s No Greater Love remained unreleased for 21 years till the 1986 cash-in of Marvin’s leftovers. Most of it was awful, but No Greater Love is just beautiful.
A couple of songs here were released by Sun Records. Alas, not much is known about Brother James Anderson. But The Prisonaires have featured here before, as the original performers of Johnny Ray’s Just Walkin’ In The Rain. As their name suggests, The Prisonaires were inmates, recording while they were guests of the Tennessee correctional services (more about them in The Originals Vol. 29).
The mix ends on a funky note, with The Winston’s instrumental of Jester Hairston’s Amen, the gospel number written specifically for Sydney Poitier’s character in the film Lilies In The Field (one of the few covers recorded by The Impressions). Recorded by The Winstons in 1969 as the b-side of the Grammy-winning Color Him Father, it is said to be perhaps the most sampled record ever, specifically Gregory Coleman’s brief drum solo (at 1:23). Check out the list of some of the records that sampled the Amen break (watch the fascinating video as well).
This compilations, and those that will follow, is titled Saved!, after the track that leads the mix. Try to keep still while playing LaVerne Baker’s thumping song; if you succeed, consult a doctor because you might well be dead.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and cover artwork is included.
1. LaVern Baker – Saved (1961)
2. The Staple Singers – Don’t Knock (1960)
3. Marie Knight – What Could I Do (1947)
4. Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers – Wonderful (1959)
5. The Sylvester Four (with Sly Stone) – Walking In Jesus Name (1952)
6. Lightnin’ Hopkins, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry – Down By The Riverside (1965)
7. Brother James Anderson – Where Can I Go (1967)
8. Elvis Presley – Run On (1967)
9. The Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama – Our Father’s Praying Ground (1970)
10. Merle Haggard & Bonnie Owens – Turn Your Radio On (1971)
11. The Louvin Brothers – The Angels Rejoiced Last Night (1961)
12. Hank Williams – (I’m Gonna) Sing, Sing, Sing (released in 1956)
13. The Carter Family – Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Bye And Bye) (1935)
14. Karl and Harty – Gospel Cannon Ball (1941)
15. Golden Gate Jubilee Quartett – Golden Gate Gospel Train (1937)
16. Barbeque Bob – When The Saints Go Marching In (1927)
17. Blind Alfred Reed – There’ll Be No Distinction There (1929)
18. Deep River Boys – I’m Tramping (1946)
19. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – This Train (1943)
20. Brother Joe May – When The Lord Gets Ready (1959)
21. Shirley Caesar – I’d Rather Serve Jesus (1951)
22. The Colemanaires – Out On The Ocean Sailing (1954)
23. The Prisionaires – Softly And Tenderly (1953)
24. Claude Jeter and the Swan Silverstones – Jesus Remembers (1956)
25. Aretha Franklin – Yield Not To Temptation (1956)
26. The Gospel Stars – He Lifted Me (1961)
27. Marvin Gaye – No Greater Love (1965)
28. Rotary Connection – Amen (1967)
29. The Winstons – Amen Brother (1969)
GET IT! (PW in comments)
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