World of Slick Music
– Gospel Special
Hi there folks!
Time again for another edition of the slickest (?!) blog on line. As the headline above says today it’s a Gospel special i got. So Gospel maybe you think of a mass choir singing happy clappy often syncopated songs. Well that’s perhaps the average image of Gospel music and not saying it’s necessarily is wrong. However Gospel music can be and also is much more than a mass choir and in my opinion their music isn’t especially slick. Now what kind of Gospel music am i gonna write about today then? Two different “projects” from back in the 90’s. First one is a project from 1993 called Soul Mission, see picture below.
This thing started when two guys Darrell Brown and David Batteau managed to make a dream come true. They had both grown up in church with all that comes with it including music. They wanted to take the fun of old school Soul music from the 60’s and then add the inspiration and earthiness of the Gospel music. This whole thing started in a thin sheet-metal construction trailer out in the desert of Arizona. In the dust and heat out there, the songs were conceived and the demos completed. Next thing they called on the assistance of their friend Bob Glaub. His vast experience as a studio bassist on three decades (from John Lennon to Bruce Springsteen). With his help they put together their all star dream team Soul band. The number one choices for the guys was the legendary Memphis musicians Booker T Jones (Hammond B3) and Steve Cropper (guitar). They were both members of the group named Booker T & the MG:s. They played on albums with Soul icons such as Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Kinda hard to believe that this skinny guitarist were writing songs that are considered beeing Soul classics today. He co wrote songs with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd to name a few and he also was/is one of two guitarists in the Blues Brothers Band.
Picture: Jazz wax
Left to right: Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn (R.I.P.), Booker T Jones himself, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson Jr (R.I.P.)
Steve and Booker T both accepted and joined the project, Darrel and David felt like their prayers were answered. Next guy to track down was R&B/Soul/Funk drummer James Gadson. He first got a reputation as a great Funk drummer in the late 60’s as a member of Charles Wright & His Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. After that band was dissolved he became a prominet session drummer and worked with Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. After that they needed a bassist and they wanted to get Ready Freddie Washington a guy who has played with dosens of artists. After him they got a second guitarist Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was). Then percussionist Bobby Hall (Diana Ross & The Surpremes, The Four Tops). Horns were provided by Joe Sublett (Sax), Darrell Leonard (Trumpet) and Jerry Donato (Sax). They were also joined by Michael McDonald on piano on one track. This was the band now they needed singers.
The first name they came to think about was Soul/Gospel singer Tata Vega whom worked a lot with Gospel giant Andrae Crouch, picture above. Second was the legendary Stax vocalist Mavis Staples whom is featured along with her sisters and father in the concert movie The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese, picture below.
Picture: Something Else Review
Through friends and colleagues they were introduced to singers Victor Cook, Grady Harrell, Lynn Davis, Alfie Silas and Gavin Christopher. Finally they also got a few other singers to be like a choir and they are on the album simply called “The Church”. Not gonna mentioning their names but trust all professional singers. So after the background of how this project came to be it’s now time for the song. Since not all of them are to be found on Youtube you can’t pick exactly anyone you want. Although one of my favorites are and it’s a kinda bluesy old school Soul with a touch of Gospel. Here’s Salvation Road featuring Lynn Davis on lead vocals.