Monday, April 09, 2007

Basement Crates: Religious Special

Alan McGill: Gentle Hands (Supreme, 1972)
Alan McGill: He Walks With Me (Canaan Records, 1971)

It's Easter Monday, so it seemed an appropriate time to post some of the religious treats I picked up when I should have been watching the magician at a three year old's party recently.

Alan McGill looks a bit like my late Great Aunt Beryl, so, for that alone, I think he is a wonderful chap. He was known as "the smiling face of Gospel" - who, I wonder, was "the snarling grimace of Gospel" and where could I get his LPs? - and he spent many years in California before moving to the heaving fleshpots of Baltimore in Maryland. Has any English person ever been to Baltimore (other than to try and find John Waters?) Anyway, perhaps unsurprisingly for someone called Alan McGill, this kindly hearted soul was of the Gaelic persuasion as his cockle-warming tenor brogue can't help but reveal. He Walks With Me is almost jazzy while Gentle Hands is pure, old-time Christian radio schmaltz and all the more wonderful for it. As far as the internet's concerned, he's still alive and making appearances. But probably only in Maryland. By the way, Hands is taken from an LP called He Touched Me which features a ghostly, godly hand coming down out of the sky. Sadly, instead of inducing awe, this just makes me snigger into my hand every time I see it. Sorry Alan :(

The Glorylanders: When I Found Out About Jesus (IBA, 1972)
The Glorylanders are still going too. They're selling their old tour bus at the moment. They may have bought it with the money they made from this LP - a gospel-folk-pop classic from 1972. I say classic like I knew anything about it, but you only have to look at that typeface or see the stand-up bass and acoustic guitar to know something kewl is going on here. This track is nearly brilliant, it's clear the 'Landers had a big thing for The Beatles, particularly John Lennon 1965/66 era, as you will hear in its series of direct stylistic steals. Great attmept at a "Scouse" accent too...

Dick Saunders: Jesus Bids Us Shine (Echo Recording, 1972)
Jimmy Owens' Come Together Singers: Tell The World (Word/Light, 1973)
The rest of the Dick Saunders LP is a load of no-partner-having, nylon-wearing librarians singing bad hymns to each other, but Shine is a little slice of instrumental heaven. Nice picture of Piccadilly Circus on the cover too. And, anyway, what do you want for 20p (or in your case, nothing)? I've covered Jimmy Owens before, but I was tricked by the different sleeve on this one. Those Christian bastards, always with the stealing and the trickery... However, buying it again did make me revisit it and rediscover Tell The World. Unlike Saunders' lily-livered, Bible-stroking milk-sop pals, Jimmy, Carol (and the Come Together Singers) sound like they're at it all the bloody time.

Joy Is Like The Rain: Speak To Me, Wind (Avant Garde, 1966)
This seems very, um, advanced for 1966, but that's when it was, so there we go. Singing nuns can get pretty tiresome, pretty quickly, but this track is great - a wispy-voiced, knock-kneed, wimple-rocker so In Love With The Lord it can't even breathe in His presence, never mind meet his steely gaze. Don't, like us, go looking for Avante Garde Records on 57th Street as rather like the Electric Banana, it's not there anymore.

Happy Easter!

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