Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Bill Freeman "Live Spiritbound" NIM Records 1977
You'd think a 70's gospel album with a stock photo for a cover from 1977 would be awful, but Bill Freeman has soul. The first track, "I Want to Be Ready/Everytime I Feel the Spirit" sounds like it was recorded in a basement, but man, crazy organ runs all throughout. Just intense organ riffs with moog and synths thrown in, some of it distorted, it's an experience. Based on the first track, Bill Freeman was filled with some sorta crazy God-love.
Then you flip to the back cover and Bill Freeman just looks crazy. Something about his photo makes it look as if he's wearing make-up (maybe he is), it's kind of creepy. He's also got some weird-ass fur vest, a saber-tooth necklace, and rings on his fingers. He doesn't look scary, just crazy, but, maybe we can chalk most of it up to the late-70's.
The notes indicate the album was recorded live at the First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kansas where Bill's father was the pastor. It was released under the NMI lable out of Kansas City, which did release a handful of local releases, most of which are not religious but center around soul, funk and later disco. Personally, my favorite part of the back notes is that Bill thanks the Ebony Club. I have no idea what the Ebony Club of Kansas City was about, but it sounds awesome.
The remainder of the album (sorry, but not sorry for the pun) is a spirited affair. While the first track features no vocals and is the "warm-up", the remainder are reworked gospel tunes. The tracks are worth checking out for the moog running throughout along with some pretty great vocals. I assume Freeman sings in a soulful falsetto, but there's a chorus with talented female singers and a male baritone that takes some front end work. It's very motivated and again, the organ runs, synths and moog make it worth checking out.