Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Rev. Steve Ray & the Shiloh Young Adult Choir God Is Ar'Nett Record Co. Unknown Year
Came across this local gospel release with a grip of really great non-local gospel titles. Most of the other titles were in the 70's soul and funk era of gospel, so this was promising. The year on this release isn't listed, but the back liners indicate Rev. Steve Ray took the pastor position at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in 1979, so it can be assumed this album followed shortly after, likely in the early 80's.
The Shiloh Missionary Baptist church still exists, in Shawnee, KS, but at the time of this release it was located at 2213 North Third Street in Kansas City, Kansas. The church website mentions Steve Ray and advises he served as the pastor until his death in 1988, it also mentions this LP. However, little else is out there on the pastor as far as any sort of musical upbringing or musical forays before or after the release of this album.
The first side starts with a sermon with a lot of "HUH!s" and "CAN YOU HEAR ME!s" No real fire and brimstone, but entertaining and uplifting...he's go into a Kentucky Fried Chicken and soda bit, which is pretty interesting, because I think the point is G-d is better than KFC and soda, or something. The sermon leads into the second track on which is the sermon continued, only with music creeping in, Lots of dirty bass and guitar lines finding their way into all the "HUH!s", but still a sermon. Then, for a minute at the very end of Side 1, the sermon bleeds into a controlled church recording "This Little Light of Mine," which is super funky, sleazy, and just sliding all over the place, but it's only there for a minute.
The second side is all music. The first track is decent, it's got a wobbly horn line that runs on the chorus and the drumming is superb along with some splashes of guitar, it just could have been more bombastic. Rev. Steve Ray sings on about half the tracks, he tends to the limit the songs. The remainder of the second side delivers on the promise of "This Little Light of Mine,"sometimes only in moments of songs, but the LP gets there. Adding a horn section to the band makes this better than most obscure gospel records you could run across. The drummer is fantastic and could provide a beat jockey hours of fun with samples. The guitarists (there are several) can come across inventive and loose. Most the players sound as if they could done it professionally and may have, although Discogs doesn't return much on their names. The Shiloh Young Adult Choir is solid, the singers that take lead are female and a better option than the Reverend. The recording quality is decent, it's obviously a bit homespun, but reviewing the backside it appears the Church did entrust a local producer, but appears he recorded the tracks live in the church and had limited means to get things perfect.
Overall, this will likely cost a dollar at a thrift store or possibly even an actual record store. If so, it's worth it. Never sleep on the local gospel records.