New Record Of The Week: August 4 Review

I picked up three new vinyl albums this weekend. Usually I go for used albums (because they’re cheaper), but I just couldn’t pass these up. I was thumbing through the gospel section in Reckless Records on Saturday afternoon with a belly full of breakfast burrito from Flying Saucer. It was more a way to stand in one place and digest than to scour the stacks of records for a golden find. So, I wasn’t really looking for anything, but when I saw these three albums (and I saw about 3 or 4 more that I also wanted) I just had to get them. Here goes:

The Devil Is Busy In KnoxvilleThe Devil Is Busy In Knoxville

Here’s a collection of old tunes that Mississippi Records threw together. The cover drew me in at first (yeah, I’m one of those type of people), but mainly because I have several other albums that Mississippi has put out, so I knew what I was getting into. This one has some good cuts on it, but, for the most part, it’s a bunch of songs that I have recordings of already. There are a few new ones that are really great that I haven’t heard, but it was kind of disappointing to know most of the songs. I guess that’s on me for not looking at the list of songs on the back of the cover. I just COULD NOT BE BOTHERED to turn it over. But who would, when the front cover is so great, right? Anyway, it’s a solid album, even if I’ve heard most of it before. I have lots of plans for this one and the other two I bought. Mainly to steal the songs, rewrite parts of them, and then call them my own. It’s what I do.

He Will Fix It, Raw African-American Gospel on 45rpm, 1959-1974He Will Fix It, Raw African-American Gospel on 45rpm, 1959-1974

Now, if that first album I bought was a little frustrating to listen to because it wasn’t so surprising, this one made up for it. I mean, wow. Again, the cover pretty much made me buy this. It’s a plain white record sleeve with a single photo on the front and nothing on the back. That’s right up my alley, I’d say. There’s nothing on the back of the cover. There’s only a plain white label on the record. At first I though, “Um, okay….How am I supposed to know which is side A and which is side B and what are the song titles?” Luckily a laser-printed 8.5″x11″ piece of paper is included with all that info and a little about the record. They SPARED NO EXPENSE. So, I love the packaging. The music is even better. It’s just raw, real, authentic gospel music as sung in any random church you could find. I can’t even really explain it other than to say it made me think, “Oh, yeah, I see…yeah, this is how to do it…okay, yeah, um…oh…so that’s how it’s done (etc, etc, etc).” It’s a good album to own. There are (supposedly) only 500 printed. I have one. Do you?

Time Will Make A ChangeTime Will Make A Change

Here’s another Mississippi Records (they’re up in Portland, Oregon) compilation. It came with a bonus 7-inch 45rpm, which was nice. Mississippi Records has my number. I’ll end up buying everything they put out. My wife will say, “Um, we don’t have any more space for those gospel records. I love them too, but the kids need to be able to sit somewhere to eat.” It’ll grow into something bordering on obsession. I’ll start to write only gospel music. (Haven’t I already?) I’ll join a church. I’ll get all righteous. (Aren’t I already?) Then I’ll drop it all and find something different that’s somewhat closely related. Anyway, that has little to do with this record. It’s really similar to “He Will Fix It,” in that it’s a collection of recordings I hadn’t really heard before. It’s a bunch of nobodies singing songs. They sing because they love to. Because they must. Because there’s joy in it. I want to someday have that feeling. Keep it all the time. I hope to get there. Maybe in time I’ll make it.

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