Album Reviews

Various Artists – Good God! Apocryphal Hymns (Numero Group)

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Good God Apocryphal Hymns Numero GroupMuch like what the title suggests, Good God! Apocryphal Hymns is a collection of gospel songs that break out of what normally might be accepted as gospel music. Sourced mainly from stock-jacket adorned, independently financed obscurities of the 1970s & ’80s, the music found here clearly shows veins of influence stemming from funk, soul, psychedellia, and reggae. Shades of Eddie Hazel, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers abound through wah-wah infected guitars, atmospheric synthesizers, otherworldly choruses and oddly sensual rhythms. 

Despite the eccentricity factor of these recordings, there is some true talent on display here. For example, Bland Childress’ impressively soaring vocals on “God’s Love” by Spiritual Harnonizers and the snake-like organ work on Francis Reneau & The Mission Singers’ “I Hear You Calling.” However Dwain Vinyard’s “Searching for The Truth” is definitely the highlight of this set with its relaxed, velvety harmonies, summery acoustic picking and its angelically catchy beat.

From the meandering mantra that is “Walk with Jesus” by Otis G. Johnson to the brooding “Maggot Brain”-esque solo guitar workout of Chester Lewis’ “Precious Lord”, Good God! can make the most uptight listener jump up and shout “halleluiah!”

– Keith Hadad

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