Week 43: Funky Soul Saver

Good mornin’, church!

Week 43 is here, and some really good music along with it. I know, it’s been way too long…but now I’m back – in style too! And it’s all thanks to my Youtube pal, who goes by the moniker BeyondBodyAndSoul. His wonderful Youtube channel (make sure to bookmark this page) is filled with rare slices of soul and funk – like this week’s treat. And sometime in the upcoming weeks he’ll even be doing a special 4BB Weekly guest post on one of his favorite albums. I’m sure it will be awesome!

One of Beyond’s many videos was with this “gospel” group, Paul Owen & The Capital City Star Singers. I’ve placed the word gospel in quotation marks because even though the lyrics are placed firmly at the church altar, the music is more akin to the best funk and blues bands of the 70’s. “Jesus Is On The Mainline” is one of the funkiest gospel records you are likely to come across.

This LP was released in 1973/74 by Songbird Records, a gospel label founded in 1963 as a subsidiary of Duke/Peacock Records in Houston, Tx. Significant artists on this record label included the powerful contralto Inez Andrews (formerly of The Caravans), The Gospelettes with Liz Dargan (formerly of Andrews’ group The Andrewettes), mixed vocal group The Kansas City Melodyaires (later known as Mildred Clark & The Melodyaires), The Jackson Southernaires and many others. Duke/Peacock was sold to ABC Records and became ABC/Songbird in 1974.

It’s strange how funky “Jesus Is On The Mainline” is, considering the old-time gospel sound that Paul Owen was known for prior to it’s release. It’s like he got possessed by the Holy Ghost of B.B King. Maybe he had a blues-funk demon that needed to be exorcised onto wax, because he never made another record like it for the rest of his recording career! Little is known about the musicians and/or singers on this project. Thank goodness for my pal Cies over at the gospel blog Just Moving On (where I first heard about the group) for supplying some background on this project:

………………………………………………………………

Brooklyn Allstars’ member Paul Owens left the group for a period of 12 years before returning in 1977. So what did he do in those 12 years? Paul Owens was the lead singer for the Mighty Mellotones of New York during the late sixties and early seventies. The Mighty Mellotones recorded eight 45s for JAS Records. They also recorded one 45 for Honey B in the early seventies. Both JAS and Honey B were New York based labels.

After his period with Mighty Mellotones and before rejoining the Brooklyn Allstars in 1977, he made one album with The Capital City Star Singers. And what an album!!!!!

“Jesus Is On The Mainline” (SongBird LP 231) is an excellent album full of funky gospel soul and is one of my favourite SongBird albums. Information on the album cover about membership of the group, studio recorded and session musicians involved is very scarce. All we know is that besides Paul Owens, Roger Liscomb is singing lead on a few of the songs. On “I’ll Fly Away” they share the lead. So no information about the musicians involved and it’s the music that takes this album to the next level.

We will probably never know who the men (or women?) behind the Capital City Stars are. All I know is that of all SongBird/Peacock albums I’ve listened to, “Jesus Is On The Mainline” is the funkiest album of all.

………………………………………………………………

True, true. The basslines that are used for these tracks transform what could have been just another batch of tired old chestnuts into a bluesy, funky affair. The title track is slow blues burner that you could easily imagine being played in a nightclub by B.B. King. “Run On” has a familiar funky groove that is similar to a famous blues tune that I have heard on Mastercard commericals but have not been able to track down. Maybe you guys can help me remember the name of it. “Going On In His Name” sounds exactly like a B.B. King record I have heard before with Paul Owens sounding very much like Mr. King.

True, true.

The basslines that are used for these tracks transform what could have been just another batch of tired old chestnuts into a bluesy, funky affair. The title track is slow blues burner that you could easily imagine being played in a nightclub by B.B. King. “Run On” has a familiar funky groove that is similar to “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s (thanks to Cheeba for identifying the song and saving my sanity).  “Going On In His Name” sounds exactly like a B.B. King tune I have heard before with Paul Owens sounding very much like the blues master himself.

The walking bassline of “Sending Up My Timber” makes you wanna walk right along with it. “You Can’t Beat God Giving” is one of my favorites. It has a slightly 60’s psychedelic, reflective feel during the verses before it bursts into a funky refrain. “What He’s Done For Me” (another fave) is some surefire funky goodness. This foot-stomper has Mavis Staples written all over it. Too bad she never did a cover. “He Saved My Soul” is a sweet midtempo groover and “I’ll Fly Away” is yet another funky head-noddin’ joint.

However, the best track is without a doubt, “Generation Gap”! Lordy, lordy, lordy. This dope track has hooked everyone I have ever played it for. Once you hear the opening bassline, all you can think is “why hasn’t anyone sampled this?!” The wonderful harmony on the chorus brings it altogether. Just listen to this, and see for yourself!

Fantastic, right?!

Unfortunately, this fabulous LP slipped through my grip on Ebay – and I haven’t seen it anywhere else since…it’s more or less extinct. So this really is an listening opportunity out of the ordinary – make sure to thank BeyondBodyAndSoul for this bounty you are about to receive. Amen!

(Ps. And yeah, don’t forget the deadline of the 4BB/Damn! Remix Competition – Sunday November 8th! So, you got about two weeks to finalize your winning entry! Keep up the good work – keep them entries coming!)

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55 comments on “Week 43: Funky Soul Saver”

  1. Listen closely, friends! Mad props to BeyondBodyAndSoul for the hook-up. Thanks are due to Cies as well for spreading some knowledge! Now, please leave a comment on the post – and while at it, leave some love for the contributors!

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  2. Great stuff. I can’t wait to listen to it. Thanks so much.

  3. Thanks, Dreamer. Enjoy! 🙂

  4. Wonderful album! Been listening to it all day…big thanks, SB & Beyond! 🙂

  5. Another one hit out the park!

  6. Glad you like it, jtf. Enjoy!

  7. Love the funky gospel! Thanks.

  8. This is the funkiest gospel record I’ve ever heard in my entire life!! So HOT!! I’m ripping generation gap’s bassline tonight!!!(LOL!!) WOOOOO!!

  9. Hallelujah, tswift! 😀

  10. Thanks both to soulbrotha and BeyondBodyAndSoul for this nugget!

    Great to see you back with another gem soulbro, this made my Sunday. “Generation Gap” is indeed one of the strongest tracks I’ve heard in a while but there’s a lot to recommend this slice of serious conscious soul and deep blues funk. Also appreciate you wising me up to Just Moving On!

    As for that blues tune you mention, don’t have TV but sure sounds like the vamp from Booker T’s “Green Onions”…

  11. THAT’S IT, CHEEBA!!! Green Onions! Thank you so much. It was driving me crazy! 😛

    So glad you’re diggin’ it and yes, there are plenty of great tracks to get down to with Tha Lawd! 😉 And Just Moving On is the best gospel blog out there (IMHO).

    • Glad to be of service, soulbrotha!

      Need to bone up on my gospel biz…most of my knowledge starts ca. WWII and goes up to the mid-60s, mostly the better known stuff. JMO is definitely a treasure trove of info and will be an invaluable resource in learning more!

  12. Funky as funky gets……thanks Soulbrotha and Beyond. I am really enjoying this album! Peace

  13. Monday morning lectures at the university are boring, so I had to plug my headphones cause I couldn´t wait to hear this one…

    wish my lecturer was as funky as Paul Owens! lol

    Thanks SB and Laf

  14. …and thanks BeyondBodyAndSoulToo 🙂

  15. Thanks LP2 and Ark! Paul Owens will definitely get you through your classes, LP! 😀

  16. Soulbrotha, this is new to me. Thanks for the education. Lovely!

    • Very welcome, Nikos. Glad I could bring you something fresh and funky. And again, major thanks to BeyondBodyAndSoul who made it possible.

  17. beyond dope SB. gotta get digging for a copy of this.

  18. Good luck with that, Cosmo! It’s gonna be a tough search.

  19. OOOOOOH… AHHHHHHHHHH… OHHHHHHHHH!!!

    I am salivating, and I haven’t even read the writeup yet.

    THANK YOU!!! 😀

    Peace and blessings.

  20. You’re welcome, Vin! I hope you can get “Mama Chef” to give her review! 😀

  21. whoa…thanks yall – I KNOW i’m gonna dig this!

  22. Hey nic. Come back and tell us what you thought of it. 🙂

  23. THANK YOU !!! I’M LOVING THIS ONE.

  24. You’re welcome, SLEEPS. 🙂

  25. Hi,

    thanks for the great quality of your blog, every time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

  26. Funky Gospel? Sounds wonderful brother! Thanks so much.

  27. Whoa, a real nice find – thanks extended to both Soulbrotha and BeyondBodyAndSoul – I’m toetappin’ like mad!

  28. Yep Bonanza, it tends to have that effect on folks! 😀 Enjoy!

  29. got damn!!! thats some funky shit! thanks again for that realness!!!

  30. You’re welcome, w.k. Don’t sleep on gospel folks. They got some funky tricks up their sleeves. 😉

  31. many thanks Soulbrotha. Damn this one is funky for a gospel record your right can’t sleep on that good ol’ gospel.

  32. You’re very welcome, Andre. It makes sense that funk would be found in gospel since most of the funk, soul and R&B artists got their start in the church. It’s just a shame that the puritanical views of the church dissuaded more gospel artists from taking that “leap of faith” into funk.

  33. Nuff thanks, Soulbrotha!

  34. Sho nuff, Chris. 🙂

  35. And the gems keep on comin’! 43 weeks and not a dud yet!

  36. Thanks kizza! We aims ta please! 🙂

  37. Another gem, thanks guys!

  38. You’re welcome, Rapper. 🙂

  39. waddup SB, thx for recommending this album, im not too big on gospel,, but the vibe sho nuff is funky on here,,,gona give it a few more spins before I say how much i dig it,,,
    thx again for some more unearthed treasures!!!

  40. Good to see you back around, bubba!
    (BTW, can I get a slice to go? :D)

  41. This record is incredible… the music and the voices are do-do-dope!!!
    Thanks!

  42. Glad you liked it, UVE! 🙂

  43. I’ll love this ,for sure.Thanks for sharing all these gems.Love

  44. […] needed assistance from our very good friend BeyondBodyAndSoul (I’m sure you all remember his Paul Owens contribution from last year), who this week comes to the rescue with some dusty 7″ vinyls – […]

  45. cette album de paul owens est une pure merveille, le titre you can t beat god giving est un pur orgasme qui traverse le corps et l espris. merci paul owens et les star city singer

  46. I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR PUTTING OUT THESE SONG AGIN THEY MEAN SO MUCH TO ME AS I’AM THE FOUNDER OF THIS GROUPS DAUGHTER.EDWIN HALL JR. GOD BLESSYOU

  47. […] needed assistance from our very good friend BeyondBodyAndSoul (I’m sure you all remember his Paul Owens contribution from last year), who this week comes to the rescue with some dusty 7″ vinyls – […]

  48. […] needed assistance from our very good friend BeyondBodyAndSoul (I’m sure you all remember his Paul Owens contribution from last year), who this week comes to the rescue with some dusty 7″ vinyls – […]

  49. […] needed assistance from our very good friend BeyondBodyAndSoul (I’m sure you all remember his Paul Owens contribution from last year), who this week comes to the rescue with some dusty 7″ vinyls – […]


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