Filed under: Good God!
God’s Band’s 1997 low-rider gospel-soul anomaly “Come Holy Spirit” took a rather circuitous path to release. Built around the Arostigui brothers Alex, Richard, David, and Daniel, ministering on guitar, vocals, drums, and hand percussion and timbales, respectively, and featuring bassist Jimmy “Jam” Sabala, vocalists Larry Vigil and his brother Aron Salas, and keyboardist Ray Palacios, God’s Band erupted out of Victory Outreach’s San Jose, California branch, then located at 99 Notre Dame in 1981. A church-only group, the octet cut a series of low-fidelity soulero originals, including “Nobody Like My Lord”, “We’re Going Home” and “Come Holy Spirit” before disbanding two years later.
Fifteen years later Alex Arostigui and Aron Salas both had taken up with the Christian oldies, street evangelism band, Full Effect but a desire lingered to return to their abandoned originals from the previous decade. Holed up in a make shift recording studio in the church offices of Victory Outreach, then located on Monterey Road, Alex and Aron revisited their past with a new cast of characters. In addition to Alex’s 13-year-old son, Isaac Arostigui on percussion, God’s Band 2.0 consisted of bassist Vince Sorrentino, keyboardist Eddie Zepeda, drummer Robert Gaeta, vocalists Myrna Geovany and Clara Maestas. An album’s worth of tracks were recorded over the summer of ’97, including a remake of “Come Holy Spirit” and issued as Going Home: Cruisin With The Oldies—Volume 2 the following fall on cassette and CD. Sold exclusively through Victory Outreach International conferences and services, the limited disc and tape disappeared in a matter of months and was then promptly forgotten. At least internally.
Elsewhere, Cruisin with The Oldies Volume 2 was being discovered by an audience more interested in cruising than praying. God’s Band’s “Thank Him For His Love” turned up on a bootleg Gangster Soul compilation CD—the only modern recording among 20 sweet soul non-hits from the ’60s and ’70s. A few years later a 45 of mysterious origins and questionable fidelity found its way to market. That single, issued on the V.O. label, was credited to Brother Aron Salas on “Thank Him For His Love,” and Sister Lydia & Sister Merna on “Come Holy Spirit.” But there was no Sister Lydia, and more importantly, no mention of God’s Band. The leap from tape to CD to 45 gave the songs a dicey fidelity, adding age and character to what was in all reality a fairly recent recording. Isaac Arostigui, now half a life time removed from those sessions, harbors no ill will: “It’s a blessing these songs made it this far. God always had big plans for this music.”
“Come Holy Spirit” will be available on 040 Good God! Apocryphal Hymns in May.
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