S. Frank Frazier Singing Christmas Carols Voice of Psalm Music Unknown Year CAT #D1026
I don't celebrate the Christmas holiday, but I can dig some soulful gospel renditions of holiday classics. S. Frank Frazier was a Kansas City native doing his thing at the Metropolitan Spiritual Church in KCK. By 1971, he started Voice of Psalm Music and put out a number of Gospel LPs.
As this is a Christmas LP, I can't say I recommend it...but, there are some originals and again, the tunes here bring a lot of soul. Based on the back cover, you'd think this album is going to be amazing, but again, Christmas songs, no matter how many times you rearrange them, you gotta be one of those people that just loves the holiday to find a lot of value in it.
I have another S. Frank Frazier LP I'm hoping I can blow doors off with. Apparently in 1961, Frazier recorded a blues single that charted and sold well. So, the guy has some secular cred. Additionally, the players and his voice are top-notch on this record, So, I'm expecting big things from additional LPs.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
I've discussed this LP before, it's Kansas' masterpiece, there most well thought out LP and it's got the hits.
This version differs in that it's a CBS Half-Speed Remaster that came out in 1980. In the 70's, Mobil Fidelity Sound Lab began to remaster titles at half speed and make limited runs on high quality vinyl. Better known as MoFi, the records sound great and are considered audiophile releases, sold at a premium and still command a significant amount today. They started a trend and the majors attempted to latch onto audiophile trend. Obvisouly, someone thought enough of Kansas to press up some audiophile copies.
Problem is that while an album like 'Point of Know Return' deserves an audiophile pressing, CBS' process wasn't anywhere as good as the MoFi releases. There are some Half-Speed CBS records that aren't any better, possibly worst than the original pressing. This pressing isn't terrible, but it's not great either. It's really bright and thin, which brings out a lot of keyboards well, but other areas suffer. It's generally panned as a terrible audiophile press, but I would still argue it's listenable (there's a CBS Self-Titled Boston LP that is absolute garbage and this isn't on that level of suckitude).
Surprisingly, despite that most experts will say stay away from this and most other CBS Half-Speed pressings, a copy still demands a premium over a clean original. Apparently the thought of having something marked audiophile outweighs the quality to some people.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Although they continued several more years past this release, this LP marks the end of a pretty good run for the Springfield, MO band that made a huge impression on Kansas City in their early days. This effort wasn't as consistent as their prior releases, but it's the same odd blend of old-time bluegrass, smooth pop, and country rock that sometimes goes song to song and other times within a single track.
There's a crazy story about founding member, Randle Chowning getting into a fight with his bandmates in Europe and quitting the band around the time of this LPs release. Apparently, a band sound mix pissed Chowning off, so he turned it to 11. After the show, he argued with band members and held a grudge all the way back home and ended up leaving the band. Despite that, he's listed as a sideman in the credits for 'Sideman From Earth', obviously appearing on some of the album tracks. Also interesting, the album was recorded EVERYWHERE. In Nashville, as well at the legendary Caribou Ranch in Colorado, and surprisingly at American Artist Studio in Springfield, Missouri, the same studio that drummed up business releasing a bunch of local custom and private press records in the area.
Again, 'Men from Earth' is a bit more uneven than the prior LPs, maybe due to the all the different recording locations. But, it's not a miss by any means, it has its share of enjoyable tracks, just lacking an obvious hit.
Fly Away Home
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Not much to this LP, not even the typical Beatles cover that was all the rage with high school choirs. Really only reason to pick it up is to archive it.
It's the Shawnee Mission North music program recorded in concert. The girl's choir is kind of entertaining, but yeah, nothing special. Typical selections for a high school program and it all ends up sounding like church music.
Greater Corinthian Nondenominational Church of Kansas City, Missouri Close to Thee HSE of America 1980
This LP is hot fire. The title and opening track 'Close to Thee' starts funky with a rootsy choir, the lead male takes over taking a standard approach, then, I can't tell if it's the same guy or someone pairing with him, but this insane falsetto voice starts and owns the song. The next track, 'Sanctified, Justified, Glorified' is uptempo gospel, maybe a little too fast for the church's own sake as everyone has a hard time keeping up, but it makes the song real and live. It also continues for over 10 minutes. Third and final track on the 1st side, 'Plenty Good Room', slows things down considerably, but there's still plenty of fire pouring through it's grooves.
The second side starts hot with female led track, 'By and By'. After that, the album finishes with a winding gospel jam that is followed by an exit prayer, exploding in gospel music in the last minute.
As the title states, the church was located in Kansas City. The record was put out by the Nashville, TN gospel lable, HSE of America. Don't know much about the players, but they're great. Solid LP.
Sanctified, Justified, Glorified