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.
Filed under: Good God!
Good God! Apocryphal Hymns is a left-of-center collection of gospel tunes in a variety of moods, from saintly to joyously insane. The Gospel Clouds of Oakland, California fall on the smoother side of the spectrum, minting this breezy original in 1967. The Gospel Clouds remained industrious through the ’60s and ’70s, integrating the Bay Area’s talent pool and sound palette with words of praise for several independent gospel releases. Amidst signing Pacific funk progenitors like Merle Saunders, Pleasure, and Side Effect, Fantasty Records made the Gospel Clouds an offer that the group ultimately declined: “If you change the word ‘Jesus’ to ‘Baby’,” recalls bandleader Leonard Lothlen, “we’ll give you $15,000 right now.”
“Let us Pray” by the Gospel Clouds from Good God! Apocryphal Hymns, available this summer on CD and 2LP.
Filed under: Dynamic, Eccentric Soul, Forte, Good God!, Numero Vinyl, Subscription
We broke news of our annual subscription last week. Now, you too can hear what we’ve been playing in the Numero office over the last six months as we developed these projects.
01 .Commands “No Time For You” (From Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label CD/2LP)
02. Cave Dwellers “Run Around” (From Cave Dwellers: Run Around+3 2×7″)
03. Pretty “Mustache In Your Face” (From Pretty: Mustache In Your Face+3 2×7″)
04. Wicked Lester “Dogs Of War” (From Wicked Lester: You Are Doomed+3 2×7″)
05. Walter Lewis “I Have Love At Home” (From Purple Snow 2CD/4LP)
06. Robert Vanderbilt “Message Especially From God” (From Good God! Apocryphal Hymns CD/2LP)
07. Capitalaires “Glory, Glory” (From King Bullard Version LP)
08. Marva Whitney “Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear” (From Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label CD/2LP)
09. Mickey & the Soul Generation “UFO” (From The Complete Mickey & The Soul Generation 3LP)
We asked 100 gospel music enthusiasts who they thought would be a great contestant on the Family Feud. The top ten answers are on the board:
09. Pilgrim Wonders
08. Fern Jones
06. Sacred Four
04. Calvin Cooke
02. Shirley Ann Lee
01. T.L. Barrett
We’re not quite sure how this happened, but last night T.L. Barrett and family were on the Family Feud. No word yet from the Barrett camp on if they won or who played the Fast Money round, but we’ll keep you posted.
In other gospel news, we’ve got a brand new compilation of celestial burners being primed for the spring. NUM040 Good God! Apocryphal Hymns drops the pretext of funk entirely to explore songs and sounds outside the gospel canon. Prepare to convert.
A few years ago when we began working on 030 Good God! Born Again Funk, we pulled in the entire eight song album by Pastor TL Barrett, not knowing what we’d do with the seven other tracks. Following the issue of the above compilation, our friends at Light In The Attic got in touch wondering about the status of those other seven tracks. Having no immediate plans for them, we did what was best for the album and sub-leased it. Eight months later, this arrived at our door:
We’ve got the LP and limited bonus 45 available on our site now for $18 (postage paid), or for a limited time you can get Like A Ship, Born Again Funk, and A Gospel Funk Hymnal on LP for the retardedly low price of $45 (postage paid).
Fans of Trevor Dandy may notice the absence of “Is There Any Love”‘s iconic break in the Roots’ update of the Monsters Of Folk song “Dear God.” That was a mouthful. This cover is slated to appear on the forthcoming Roots LP, How I Got Over, due out sometime this summer. Listen here:
For those wondering how this affects the well being of Trevor and the song’s cowriter Paul Zaza, you can rest easily with the knowledge that they retained a 25% writer’s share in the song.
We first checked in on Rochester, New York’s Fine Recording Studio via the Inspirational Gospel Singers in Good God! Born Again Funk. And now, thanks to the hard work of Mark Taylor, the remainder of the Fine archive is being digitized for future generations to enjoy. Here’s the skinny:
In December 2002, a shipping container arrived in Sydney, Australia. Its contents largely unknown, it was unloaded into a warehouse in East Botany. For the next 6 months a story unfolded, a history of the recorded music of Rochester, NY, from the immediate post-war era, until the untimely death in 1977 of studio owner and jazz big band leader Vincent Giancursio, aka Vince Jan, aged 58. The studio later suffered fire and flood damage.
The contents of the container, as they were unpacked, revealed hidden musical treasure representing every genre and diversity of the era. Big band jazz and lounge music, popular songs, country and western, rockabilly and incredible gospel groups dominate the 1950’s. Following this came early beat and pop groups, early garage r&r, northern soul and funk, culminating in a slew of brilliant undiscovered garage punk masterpieces, the reason for the existence of this site. After 1967, psychedelic and progressive styles took hold, and the energy was lost. However, the story must, and will, be told…
Check Mark’s site for a larger rundown of the studio’s musical contents, and oh yeah, grab this face-melting compilation of Fine gospel that another Fine fan put together.