Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hear some rare Detroit gospel, including previously unreissued Otis Johnson

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 12:43 PM


Since they started about a year ago, I've had a weekly radio show on a small community radio station in Portland, OR called X-Ray FM. It's a cool station, mixing liberal talk radio in the day (notably Thom Hartmann) with a slew of genre-specific music shows in the evenings and  weekends. You might be interested in my own show. It's called 'Buked & Scorned: The Gospel Radio Hour, and as you might have guessed, it's all gospel music. 

For legal reasons, the station only hosts archives going back two weeks. My show from last Sunday is still live (and listenable to right here). That particular show was entirely culled from vinyl records I picked up in town over the holiday break — old, scratched-up records, fur sure, but all new to me.


I continued to do the show despite my move to the Detroit area last September. And naturally the show is going to to just get better now that I'm so much closer to the source for this music.

A handful of Detroit artists are in the hour-long set, but three are especially notable: the eerie, drum machine-driven "Get to Heaven" by Otis Johnson; an exciting excerpt from a sermon with the choir and backing band kicking in, "When I Could I Wouldn't; Now I Want to But I Can't" by Rev. Jodie Holmes on the Natural label; and the mournful a capella take on "See How They Done My Lord" by the Stripes of Glory. That last group formed in London in the early 1960s while stationed there in the armed services. They recorded one 45 for Peacock, and were otherwise unrecorded until three decades later. 

I'm super interested in finding out more about each of these extraordinary gospel artists, so if you know even the littlest thing about them, please contact me here or just leave a comment, OK!

More by Mike McGonigal

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