October 13, 2010

Some Truly Cathartic Gospel Sessions from Deep Rural Texas on ACR KNO BEL and Palladium

The B & H Singers with the South Union Baptist Church Choir and Rev. John C Brown. From Marlin, TX 1969.

The Bexar Street Baptist Church Choir, with Rev. R.L. Robertson. Dallas, TX 1969.

Two fantastic and raw gospel records for your listening pleasure here. Both are from 1969 on the local Texas gospel label ACR KNO BEL located in Austin, the label would visit various rural black churches around Texas and record their gospel singing sessions live. The label rarely issued a cover with the LP and when they did it was usually a plain white jacket or just a few words printed on it. I have no idea how many records are in the catalog of ACR KNO BEL but I have seen 3 different records so far, most all from the late 60s to early 70s. The first record here is from Marlin TX, the second pictured is from Dallas. All of the records on this label are very intense, spiritual gospel singing. The music ranges from just a choir singing negro spirituals and hymns, to a bluesy soul infused gospel session with guitars bass drums and organ. This offering covers both sides of the spectrum. The first is by Bexar Street Baptist Church in Dallas, TX with Rev RL Robertson and Choir. A great record with more traditional leaning style and I have given a few tracks that show the best of the style, because some of the tracks are more just hymns, some sermonizing etc, but these offered are really deep old style soul stirring gut wrenching spirituals. If you are not used to gospel or dont listen to it much, give it a chance and listen all the way through. The Quality of the records is not great, but I feel like if theres one genre that isnt really diminished by quality its this, because the crackling hiss just adds to the old world realness vibe to the LP. The next offering by The B & H Singers with the South Union Baptist Church Choir out of Marlin, TX is a truly awesome record, and one of the better church recordings I've heard. Indeed, there exists some studio based gospel soul, gospel funk stuff that is amazing and I love it to death but this is a whole different ball of wax, this is real people at a real church doing their thing, not for show or money but for themselves, and strangely these guys do it with a very bluesy southern delta spiritual revivalist bellowing and churning that utilizes guitar, organ, bass, percussions and solo/group singing that I really love. I say strangely because it's recorded in the DEEP rural town of Marlin, TX. One of the blackest and, sadly, most impoverished areas in Texas, but damn they have soul. Really beautiful stuff here, I wish the label captured more from this session because often the songs went on so long they had to cut the track off before it really ended, A symptom of the style of the genre, real gospel often takes longer to build up to its crescendo than even Godspeed You Black Emporer. But I'll shut up now and let you download the RAR, I basically just zipped up some of the best tracks from both records to make one full album of Great ACR KNO BEL recordings for you, as I said both are not in great shape but I hope you will learn to appreciate it as much as I have anyway.



Next up we have a 7" offering of another Live church gospel session with the famous Reverend O.C. Johnson on mic, from Lyons Unity Baptist Church in Houston, TX. Late 60s. Incredible 2 part 7inch featuring the gut wrenching soul shattering blood curdling wails of Reverend Johnson, who I daresay could put burzum, bathory, and cannibal corpse to shame in vocal intensity and delivery if he really wanted to. The first time i heard this I put it on my table and jacked up the volume and it seriously gave me massive goosebumps, I mean the ending with that lady screaming and falling out over his repetitive phrasing is just so intense. I could write for hours about how interesting this kind of music is and why I and others like it so much, but I'll just leave it to the record to speak for itself and hope you are of a similar mindset as myself in finding this music both profound and moving, and worthy of respect and fascination. Most people tend to like the Soul gospel stuff that Numero and others comp, but really that is just soul music with religious lyrics, this is what Gospel is really about, and if you aren't feeling it after these tunes, it just ain't your thing. But I can't get enough of it. It conveys that same sense of earnestness, desperation and soul searching, the pouring out of emotion that bands like Joy Division are so revered for, and man I feel it here too.


ryanb said...

no jesus for me, but these tracks brought a few tears to my eyes. thanks so much for this.

transpacjackson said...

thank you for enjoying the gospel, it is close to my heart, and i have a lot more, so depending on the overall reaction to these i might put up a lot more, or might not. but i will put you down for plus one 'yay gospel'.

Raphy said...

A Thomas A. Dorsey Song.... This is a really spirited version. This is what you called: 'GOSPEL' There's another version I would implore you to listen to, Marion Williams version.

Gospel is more than try to sing pretty.
It should evoke something deep down inside>>>>>>SOUL

I collect a lot of these music in my collection...

Ps. Just found your blog..

Keep on keeping on.

Big Up!@!

Anonymous said...

beautiful, profound.
Please share some more.

Anonymous said...

This was my pastor! if you thought this was great just wonder if you where in a live service Mark B