Yes it’s late, yes it’s gospel. Clue: if you don’t like gospel then you probably won’t like this much.
However if you do then you’re in for a treat, especially if you’ve not heard this before. Released in '71and featuring an ‘amateur’ choir recorded pretty much live in the church, this album makes a strong feature of classic call and response vocals, and the dynamic rush of the choir really giving it the full beans. Add in some funky bass and piano groove and you can see why it’s been sampled by Kanye and Alicia Keyes amongst others.
It’s just been reissued on vinyl and sounds majestic with the volume up and when they’re in full flow.
Just found a bit of a write up from last year here -
The opening/title track is truly exceptional and truly magnificent. Particularly the final 60 seconds (after the false ending) when they pull it back for one last, extended chorus. Sublime. I listen to it quite a lot.
The rest is very good, but it never quite hits that high again.
Nice, slightly muddy sound quality. Adds to that ‘lost classic’ air of mystery.
I’m not a huge fan of gospel to say the very least, although there are bands I do like who have been very influenced by gospel structures. ‘Like a ship’, the opener and title track is a stone cold classic. You could see this going down a storm as a cover version by Primal Scream circa 1991/2.
I preferred the up-tempo numbers, whether the Pastor kept out of the way, and avoided the tiresome vocal gymnastics.
On the plus side I was very impressed by the rhythm section on this LP, who kept it simple but very funky. The simplicity of the music is a joy when it works.
On the other hand, I actively dislike the plinky-plonk dirges like ‘Wonderful’, which is just an opportunity for the Pastor to show off. Tedium on a stick, only saved by some judicious use of the Hammond organ.
I agree with you, the choir in full flow is much better off without the Pastor, and the title track is the best example of this.
We were probably listening to some of the same bands who infused bits of gospel in their music (primals, SM3, spiritualized etc) - although I had gotten into gospel before I heard these bands, it wasn’t till much later that I heard the title track and realised that what was I was looking for.