Soul of Designer Records / Various
The Soul of Designer Records is a very special 4-CD set. It offers over 100 gospel songs recorded between 1967 and 1977 by Designer Label founder Style Wooten and Roland Janes (Memphis music). Designer Records was one of the most successful independent gospel labels in the US by 1977. The Designer singles capture the evolution of Memphis blues and soul as reflected in their sanctified cousin of a genre. What's astonishing is how seamlessly this set's 101 songs by dozens of groups and solo acts lock together. That's due to more than the unbridled sound of pure faith welling up in the varied voices of such largely obscure performers as Elizabeth King, who wails like Aretha on –Testify for Jesus," and Rev. Leon Hammer, who howls like Blind Willie Johnson on –He Won't Deny Me." Many of these numbers share a badass, wild-eyed energy ã the same primitive, reverb-soaked mojo that drives the classic Memphis rockabilly, garage rock and blues that was Janes' specialty. The protean roots rocker also plays guitar on many of these sides, drawing on a do-it-all trick bag of riffs that range from needlepoint blues licks 'n' leads to funky James Brown-style strumming to bristling country bends to unrepentant power chords. The musical timeline starts in 1963 with the traditional quartet approach of Grand Junction, Tennessee's Gospel Songbirds, who telegraph call-and-response vocals over simple blues chord changes, followed by the hot Bobby –Blue" Bland boogie of the Dynamic Hughes Gospel Singers' –Beautiful City." It climaxes in the Hendrix-fueled six-string of Elgie Brown, whose 1975 –When Jesus Comes" and –A Helping Hand" navigate a psychedelic sea of wah-wah, phase shifter and distortion pedals. If passion and fervor were electricity, the performances on The Soul of Designer Records could put the glow in every neon sign in the city on the Mississippi River where they were recorded. Track Listings: Disc One 1. Tone The Bells Easy _ Gospel Songbirds 2. I Thank You Jesus _ Gospel Songbirds 3. Beautiful City _ Dynamic Hughes Gospel Singers 4. Viet Nam _ Dynamic Hughes Gospel Singers 5. I Know It's Jesus _ Melody Kings Of Greenwood, MS 6. If You Need The Lord Call Him _ Melody Kings Of Greenwood, MS 7. Tone The Bells _ Twilight Singers 8. Climbing High Mountains _ Twilight Singers 9. I'll Go _ Sensational Family Singers 10. Everyone Should Know Who Jesus Is _ Sensational Family Singers 11. We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder _ Songs Of Spiritual Of Albany, GA 12. It's Been A Long Journey _ Songs Of Spiritual Of Albany, GA 13. I Made It Over _ Spiritual QC's 14. What A Time _ Spiritual QC's 15. After While _ The Shaw Singers 16. Trying To Do Thy Will _ The Shaw Singers 17. What Ever You Do _ Do Good _ Soul Superiors Of Detroit, MI 18. A Great Day _ Soul Superiors Of Detroit, MI 19. Move _ Echoes Of Glory 20. I Feel Good _ Echoes Of Glory 21. Trusted _ Alberta Powell 22. The Same God _ Alberta Powell 23. How Good God Has Been _ Laura Bradley & The Famous South Land Singers 24. How Far The Lord Brought Me _ Laura Bradley & The Famous South Land Singers 25. Stand By Me _ The Jubilee Hummingbirds 26. Something Within Me _ The Jubilee Hummingbirds 27. Go Back To God _ The Silvertone Singers Of Wynne, AR Disc Two 1. God Is Ruler From Above _ The Breckenridge Singers 2. I'm On My Way _ The Fantastic Alphonzo Thomas 3. Walking Through The City _ E.L. Burtis 4. Sweet Home _ E.L. Burtis 5. I Come To Praise His Name _ The Dixie Jubilees 6. Mary Don't You Weep _ The Faithful Aires 7. I Am Going Home _ O'Neal And The Dean Brothers 8. The ABC's _ O'Neal And The Dean Brothers 9. Get Right With Jesus _ The Mighty Blytheville Aires 10. It May Be Your Last _ The Mighty Blytheville Aires 11. Beautiful Mansion _ Traveling Stars 12. It's Me Oh Lord Standing in The Need Of Prayer _ Harps Of David 13. Just A Little While _ Harmonizers Of Newtown, MS 14. Do What The Lord Say Do _ The Golden Five 15. He's Coming To Judge The World _ Johnsonaires 16. Too Close To Turn Around _ Golden Travelers 17. I've Got The Love Of Jesus _ Rev. Leon Hamner & The Holy City Travelers 18. God's Word Will Never Pass Away _ George Shields And His Gospel Singers 19. When The Gates Open _ The South Land Singers 20. Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone _ The Shaw Singers 21. God Has Done So Much For Me _ The Shaw Singers 22. People Of The World Are So Easy To Forget _ Gospel Consolators 23. Ring The Message Out _ Sensational Spirit Consolators 24. The Greatest Creator _ Sensational Spirit Consolators 25. By And By I'll See Jesus _ The Memphis Spiritual Four 26. Here I Am _ The Memphis Spiritual Four Disc Three 1. Since He Touched Me _ The Shaw Singers 2. He's Sweet I Know _ The Silver Leaf Harmonizers 3. Letter From Jesus _ Little Willie Patterson w/ The Famous South Land Singers 4. New Born Soul _ Little Willie Patterson w/ The Famous South Land Singers 5. He Won't Deny Me _ Rev. Leon Hamner & The Holy City Travelers 6. Only Jesus Knows _ Rev. Leon Hamner & The Holy City Travelers 7. Jesus Is Calling Me _ The Gospel Stars 8. If I Could Not Say A Word _ Joe Townsend 9. Going Over The Hill _ Joe Townsend 10. When The World's On Fire _ The Canton Spirituals 11. Lord's Been Good To Me _ Four Stars 12. Clean Up Your Life _ Jackson Trumpeteers 13. Lord Remember Me _ Jackson Trumpeteers 14. I Won't Have To Cry No More _ The Jubilee Hummingbirds 15. A Sinners Plea _ The Jubilee Hummingbirds 16. Holy Ghost _ The Mighty Gospel Eagles Of Greenwood, S.C. 17. How Bless You Are _ The Mighty Gospel Eagles Of Greenwood, S.C. 18. Nobody's Fault But Mine _ The Original Golden Stars 19. At The Red Sea _ The Original Golden Stars 20. How I Made It Over _ Silver Trumpets 21. Living Down Here On Borrowed Time _ Silver Trumpets 22. My Last Song _ Barnes Singers Of Earle, AR 23. I Won't Be Back No More _ Barnes Singers Of Earle, AR 24. Praise His Name _ Dixie Wonders Of Memphis, TN Disc Four 1. Try The Lord _ Fantastic Gospel Travelers 2. The Lord Will Make A Way _ Fantastic Gospel Travelers 3. Don't Give Up _ O'Neal And The Dean Brothers 4. It's Your Life _ O'Neal And The Dean Brothers 5. Christ At The Wall _ Original Holy Kings 6. Strong Believer _ Rev. Houston Potts Jr. & Sister Mary Pride 7. If I Don't Wake Up In The Morning _ Rev. Houston Potts Jr. & Sister Mary Pride 8. You Don't Know _ Sister Carrie Daniel 9. This Joy I Have _ Sister Carrie Daniel 10. Why Am I Treated So Bad _ Spiritual Harmonizers Of Senatobia, MS 11. Let Me Lean On You _ Christian All Stars Of Akron, OH 12. When Jesus Comes _ Elgie Brown 13. A Helping Hand _ Elgie Brown 14. Plant Love _ Foster Brothers 15. Freedom Shore _ Foster Brothers 16. Don't Blame It On The Children _ Genessee Gospel Travelers 17. You Been Good To Me _ Noah's Ark 18. Hold On To His Hand _ The Magnificent Soul Survivors 19. I'll Fly Away _ The Wandering Five 20. The Lord Is MY Shepherd _ The Mosby Singers Of East St. Louis, IL 21. I Got The Love Of Jesus _ The Mosby Singers Of East St. Louis, IL 22. Do Yourself A Favor _ Souls Of Solomon Of Buffalo, NY 23. Testify For Jesus _ Elizabeth King 24. Love King Jesus _ Cora Bell Watkins
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