Wednesday, May 09, 2007

45 RPM Gospel Classics from the Midwest

Scott Harlow of Chicago has created an interesting and fun website devoted to funk, soul and gospel 45s from the Midwest. Most of the issues are of late 60s-1970s vintage, when indie and vanity labels grew exponentially and captured the sound of the times.

On the Illinois Gospel page, you'll find photos of rare 45s, including a sampling of Offie Reece's One-Way discs, CIMUDE releases on the Duncanaires and the late Bishop L.H. Ford, and audio snippets from gems such as the Sensational Southerners of Chicago (Church) and the Spiritual Trumpets (Davis).

Ohio Gospel offers a smattering of James Bullard's BOS label, the uber-fertile ground of Bounty, and John Marshall Finch's gospel product on his eponymously named label. Now collectors items, Finch gospel releases were almost uniformly superb in quality of performer, performance, and production. I'm biased towards The Mighty Pilgrims' "I Tried," which I consider to be one of the best quartet records ever made. Period.

Michigan Gospel, specifically from the Detroit area, is flush with Bilesse, Knowles, Revival, and Fortune issues, as well as Cleveland-based Bounty Records' issues of neighboring Michigan groups. Check out the funky Walker Brothers single on Revival, "God's Been Good to Me," with cymbal brushing right out of "Shaft."

And what of Indiana? Hoosier state gospel is well represented, too, with an array of small labels (many from Indianapolis) mixed in with Buddy Pressner's Staff and Robert Anderson's Good Shepherd products from Gary. Listen to the underappreciated Cliff Gober's "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" with full soul orchestra accompaniment (Calvary).

So whadd'ya waiting for? Go to and knock yourself out.


Anonymous said...

Wow, very exciting. Thus far, I've looked at the Illinois, and the Michigan gospel. Was very pleased with listening to "Nothing to Hard for God" - Pennington Specials, with Jean Reed on lead. Excellent. I wish I still had that song.

When Jean Reed, (also a gospel radio DJ, and wife of Melvin, was terminally ill,) she asked everyone, not to grieve, but to play her favorite song "Beula Land" by Don Degrate, because that's how she felt. A powerful song. Evertime I hear it I think of Jean Reed, and my brother who passed around the same time as Jean.

Thanks for the link.

Bob Marovich said...

Hi, Sis -- glad you are enjoying the gospel gems on the site! Best, Bob

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago, at the Pasadena City College Record Swap Meet, I went to my monthly pilgrimage in order to find collectible R & B/jazz/blues vinyl. There was one table, the old guy was always selling banal pop and classical 78s. I always bypassed his table, but this time I was drawn to it. There on his table were a few boxes that looked like they had not been opened from a record distribution house. Imagine my surprise to open one and find brand new, never before played gospel 78s on labels like Duke/Peacock, Savoy, Nashboro, Specialty, even Apollo. The 4 boxes represented a treasure trove of the most legenday gospel artists of all time. Needless to say, I had to do a "gospel record rescue" and, for just $5 per 30-count box, I took home 120 gospel 78s, many of which will never see the light of digital reissues or downloading or file sharing. To hear these magnificent artists' records, with a 78 stylus correctly reading the vinyl groove, played over an audiophile system, is something that cannot be described, truly a divine experience. Long live gospel at 78 rpm, the way real gospel was meant to be heard---Angelo Alexander

Michelle said...

COLORADO..we've had and your UGGS and your GE.
We've had your ACCOC with your ENTAC , too, and finally, we're pulling the plug on all of you.
And yeah, that's your PHYTO- PHYCOO - COURAPH!
Along with your CATS - KITLERS and CATTONS!
So PACCU those AK'S and call your BILEESE - CARON-
JAY- JAYS, we're going to blow you away till " kingdom comes"..... In our movie..." KANSAS KINGS".

Mike said...

A few years back,i moved to ky because of a job transfer....after I got settled,it was time to go record hunting in my new domain...after getting used to louisville and the surrounding areas,and finding countless local soul,r&b,and rockabilly 45's.....i made my way north to indiana....every weekend,i made it farther north... until 1 weekend I just decided to drive all the way to Indianapolis..... I found some of the best records I ever found many local labels....gospel,r&b,doowop,etc....even some windy city pieces....but local gospel was always the main back home on the East Coast now..... but everytime I get a vacation I always find my way back to Indianapolis to look for records