Thursday, August 06, 2015

Brother Claude Ely - Satan Get Back!

There is little music that is as real and energetic and wild as Holiness Church revival singing, as is
evidenced in this CD featuring Brother Claude Ely leading his congregation through a service of singin'n'sermoninizin'.

Here Ely barely can catch his breath as he exhorts his followers to come to Christ and to sing along with numbers like "I'm Crying Holy Unto the Lord", "There's a Leak in This Old Building", "Send Down That Rain", "There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down" (one of the best here) and lots more. The music is gospel mixed with country, bluegrass, blues and everything else that came together in his Kentucky home. Ely sings and plays acoustic guitar while his people scream'n'shout'n'sing along 'n'dance'n'denounce the devil! Wild times indeed!

On this CD, the entire service is presented, as opposed to the edited version that had previously appeared on vinyl. So, besides some talkin'n'preachin', there are a number of extra songs, such as the Cumberlan Five doing a fine, five part harmony on "I'm Just a Stranger Here" and more from Ely: "Thank You Jesus" and "I Want To Rest".

This collection also gathers a number of studio takes, as well, starting with his version of "You've Got to Move" (the Stones did a take on Mississippi Fred McDowell's reading of this classic gospel tune), "Farther On", and plenty others. These are a bit calmer and more restrained than the numbers taken from the revival meeting, and are a bit more "musical" in the harmonies and such. But even some of these other releases were done live, as with "Jesus is the Rock", "Little David, Play on Your Harp", and "There's a Higher Power", which gives great godly fun.

Musically, the backing is minimal, mostly with just acoustic rhythm guitar and an occasional mandolin lick (often the same one used for each song!). But the energy is unmistakable and infectious and on some of the later number more instruments are added, as with the rockabilly-ish electric guitar on "Do You Want to Shout" and the CandW backings in "Those Prayers and Words Still Guide Me".

Really terrific early, Holiness gospel - great numbers, great presentation and a educational book is included, as well.