Friday, November 20, 2009

The Relatives Don't Let Them Fall

Mick O'Donnell from Soul Discovery tipped me to the above. You can listen and buy the album from Heavy Light Records:

Call it Gospel Funk! In truth, the sound of The Relatives is so much more. Brought together by veteran Gospel singer Gean West in 1971, their sound bridges the gap between traditional Gospel, Soul and Psychedelia. Over a span of four years, The Relatives recorded three obscure 45’s and a session with legendary North Texas engineer Phil York. These powerful, genre-busting recordings stand up alongside the best Group Soul and Funk recordings of the 1970’s—and give praise to the Lord like you’ve never heard before! Heavy Light Records is proud to bring together all of The Relatives’ singles and five previously unreleased tracks for their first-ever full length release, “Don’t Let Me Fall.”


Deluxe limited edition silk screened packaging
Extensive liner notes with unpublished photos
5 previously unreleased tracks remastered from the original reels

On a simmering Sunday morning in a tiny brick church in West Dallas, the Reverend Gean West delivers an ambling sermon to a congregation of 15 people. His gravelly voice competes with the constant hum of the air conditioner as he holds court on Psalm 23, comparing the late Michael Jackson to the biblical King David. The finer points of the sermon are punctuated by notes from an electric keyboard played by a young nephew of the Reverend. In fact, most of the parishioners at God’s Anointed Community Church of God in Christ are related to West, who has eight children and “a whole slew of grandkids,” in one way or another.

Like the phenomenal funky gospel band West fronted for a decade beginning in 1970, The Relatives would be a fitting name for this congregation.

Born in Marlin, Texas on April 3, 1936, God and music have long been guiding – and occasionally competing – forces in the life of Gean West. As a child he would mimic preachers to entertain his parents and neighbors. “I would shout – ‘Hah!’ – because that’s what I thought preachers did,” West remembers. “I would say, ‘My mama’s good! Hah! My daddy’s got the devil!’ They would be laughing, giving me quarters, you know.”
Read the full story.

Also read a post about Gean West on The Corner blog

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