Wednesday, April 20, 2016

None But the Righteous - The Masters of Sacred Steel

I picked up this comp on a whim at our local Zia records since I love cool gospel music and love steel guitar. Wasn't really sure what to expect, but this exceeded my expectations! Hoppin', old-school gospel with some steel guitar experts providing the melodies!

Opening with Sonny Treadway's "Jesus Will Fix It For You", we get an upbeat gospel/blues with some wild steel playing - just can easily picture the congregation on their feet and dancin' in rapture for this one! The Campbell Brothers sing along with the singin' steel in "I Feel Good" - not the James Brown number, but not that far removed! "Call Him By His Name" is a slower, bluesy instrumental by Glenn Lee and peppy, percussive clapping starts off Aubrey Ghent's wild, high-energy "Praise Music", with frantic and distorted steel driving the tune. Another soulfully slow number, Willie Eason's "Little Wooden Church on a Hill" follows and then more boppin', bouncey blues as Glenn Lee returns with "Joyful Sounds". Ghent reappears with "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and truly make the steel guitar sing with plenty of inflection and style. Maurice "Ted" Beard Jr. gives a live, preachin' version of "The Train", where he imitates the iron horse to accentuate and punctuate his sermon. Another frenzied piece of fallin'-out gospel comes from the Campbell Brothers in the appropriately titled "Jump For Joy" but Beard Jr. comes back for a leisurely groove in "I Want to Go Where Jesus Is". Ghent gives an almost jazzy interpretation of "Amazing Grace", The Campbell Brothers give their take on the vocal "Morning Train" where the steel is mostly in the background, but does give a terrific lead section and Treadway's "At The Cross" is almost country-esque. Ghent's suggestively titled "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus" is more church-y/organ driven, but Aubrey still tears it up in the solos! A new arrival, Calvin Cooke" gives us the slow soul of "Since I Laid My Burden Down", Treadway gives another individualistic reading of "Amazing Grace" and closes (appropriately) with a chorus joining in on "God Be With You".

I love this combination of gospel and steel guitar - surprisingly it works amazingly well! Fine, fine compilation!