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‘And when he is come’: A treasury of unintentionally ‘dirty’ double-entendre gospel LP covers
08:37 am


LP covers

Last week Dangerous Minds brought you a gallery of the worst album covers ever created. It was a fine sampling, showcasing some of the best of the worst, but my own personal favorite genre of “bad album art” was under-represented. I’m talking about, of course, the private-press gospel record with double-entendre title.

Now, most of these records generally fall into two categories: titles about someone being touched and titles about someone coming, in one instance “quarts of love.”

Usually, the naïve graphics on the covers sell the unintentional jokes.

Below are some of my favorites. If I missed any, let me know in the comments!


Many more questionably-titled Christian album covers after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Astounding gospel guitar form settles into a new home - Toledo, OH
02:20 pm


Sacred Steel

willie eason
A Pentecostal couple in Toledo (Ohio’s suburb of Detroit) have endeavored to make their city a hub for a hybrid style of Hawaiian and Blues guitar playing that hasn’t found significant footing outside of steel guitar interest groups and two very specific African-American Christian denominations. Del Ray and Kelli Grace founded Sacred Strings Recordings in 2009, with an aim to the preservation and awareness of “Sacred Steel,” a form of gospel music largely established by one Willie Eason (1921-2005). Check out this marvelous interview and performance by Eason, talking and singing about FDR.

Eason learned steel guitar from his older brother Troman, who had learned lap steel in the Hawaiian style. Willie’s innovation was to merge Hawaiian with Blues, intending to imitate gospel singing with single guitar notes. The Tomans introduced their guitars into church services in lieu of organs, after which the style took off. I quote Wikipedia here at perhaps greater length than necessary, but I simply had to include all those awesome church names:

The Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth, was founded in 1903 by Mary Magdalena Lewis Tate. Following her death in 1930, the church divided into three branches, known as the Keith, Jewell and Lewis dominions. The steel guitar was embraced in the worship of two of these dominions, the Keith Dominion (officially, The House of God Which Is the Church of the Living God the Pillar and Ground of the Truth Without Controversy), headquartered in Nashville and the Jewell Dominion (Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Which He Purchased With His Own Blood, Inc.) headquartered in Indianapolis. Brothers Troman and Willie Eason introduced lap steel guitar to worship services in place of the traditional organ. This new instrument was met with great enthusiasm and taken up by others including the Bishop J.R. Lockley. The three toured together and later Willie put the new style down on record, recording a total of eighteen sides in the 1940s and 50s.

Since then, sacred steel has grown and flourished within the Keith and Jewell Dominions in churches in at least 22 states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Tennessee.

And Ohio, clearly. The Graces in Toledo have played host, for four years now, to an annual national gathering of Sacred Steel players, established a Hall Of Fame and a 501c3, and released recordings on their aforementioned label. But perhaps most importantly, they’ve established a YouTube channel chock full of performances. You have to forgive some sub-wedding caliber video production, but it’s worth it. When the guitarists kick in, shit gets all good and boisterous real quick.

Yeah, they’ve got TONS more like that. If this sort of thing is your bag, I wish you happy hunting. For more on the story of the music, I leave you with this generously long clip from the Arhoolie Records documentary Sacred Steel: The Steel Guitar Tradition of the House of God Churches.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Mahalia Jackson!

The legendary Gospel singer and Civil Rights activist, Mahalia Jackson was born 100 years ago today.

In a career that spanned 6 decades from 1927-1971, Jackson recorded over 30 albums, appeared in numerous films and was once described by Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”.

With her rich contralto voice, Jackson was hailed as the “Queen of Gospel”, and her influence crossed musical genres from Rock to Pop, Jazz to Blues, and influenced Elvis Presley, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.

More from Mahalia, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment