Pretty sure this is the only gospel record that currently resides in Graypunk inventory. And I know next to nothing about it, as there is very little detail to be found online and this record is super scarce. The few existing copies I did find out there appear to be in the UK, for some reason. Odd, as this 80’s private press rarity is straight out of Oakland.
I do know that this is the second incarnation of the Gospel Hummingbirds, which were originally founded in the 60’s by Joe A. Thomas, Sr. His son, who shares the same name (minus the Sr, natch) formed a new ensemble under the same name that brought some ooomph to what was then gospel tradition, leading a full-on band to back the five-vocal harmonizing. It appears that Thomas did most of the heavy lifting when it came to the musical accompaniment, as he is credited with playing lead guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, bass, drums, congas & percussion, acoustic piano, Yamaha electric piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, clavinet, Arp string ensemble and Arp Odyssey. Damn. That’s in addition to his vocal duties in the group, providing lead, baritone, tenor and soprano. The dude did it all.
There are a few other credited musicians – Tim Plummer on drums & percussion, Ray Wiggins on bass and Curtis Mitchell providing some conga contributions. And there were four other vocalists in the Hummingbirds – Clearance Nichols, Roy Tyler (who went on to release some solo records, I believe), Robert Keys and James Gibson.
Again, I have never heard this record, and not sure if it ever made it to CD. I don’t think it did. The music, from my understanding, is reportedly pretty kick-ass – a mix of gospel, soul, funk and electric blues. Reportedly. Would love to check it out, but I will honor it’s sealed status and allow someone else the joy of being the first one to throw it on the turntable.
Available for a respectable $50 and can be purchased here…and there.