The last time the monkey heard proof that the Devil didn’t quite have all the best tunes was with the release of Naomi Shelton’s excellent 2014 LP Cold World though Greg Belson seems to have dug up another twelve. It is these that form the contents of his forthcoming compilation Divine Funk – Rare American Gospel Funk And Soul on Boston label, Cultures Of Soul Records which will be available in both LP and CD formats. If the title sounds a little familiar, maybe that’s because ten of said tracks comprised the contents of Greg Belson’s Divine Funk 45 Box, a hundred hand-stamped and limited copies of which sold out so promptly ahead of the full comp’s drop date, that the label has decided to press another fifty. The LP and 45 Box Set form something of a sequel to Belson’s Divine Disco series and you can rest assured that the contents are equally, well, divine.
The track order differs on the LP and the 45 boxset but between the organ-driven, female-fronted funky soul of Chariettes Gospel Singers’ Nobody But Jesus on the LP and the stanky black rock chugger of The Christian Harmonizers’ Troubles Of The World, you get a pretty good sense of the quality and range on this drop. Elsewhere things are more mellow with Preacherman Isidore Womack’s I’ve Got Power On My Mind vaguely recalling the melody of Betty Wright’s Clean-Up Woman and the smouldering organ ‘n clattering drums of Allen Gauff Jr. and his Combo’s I Don’t Want To Be Alone. Look out also for the unusual drum break syncopation of the drums on The Wearyland Singers If You See Me Doing Wrong and scorching uptempo soul bomb from Gospel Ambassadors This Little Light Of Mine. Of course, it goes without saying that the lyrical content can get a little bit what you might call ‘non-secular’ at times but, for those that might bother, the elemental power of the music and singing is such that you’re liable to overlook it – for truly the Lord works in mysterious ways!
(Out 5 March on Cultures Of Soul)