Sunday, July 17, 2011

No Loving Lost

This blog is goin' into summer break. But I will cheer you off with another gospel delight. It comes, once again, from the Loving Sisters. I already told you something about this family-gospel-outfit from Arkansas; you may read it here. And apart from presenting their 1974 album »The Loving Sisters and Their Sons«, I also made you familiar, if was needed, with their preceding LP from 1973, entitled »A New Dimen- sion«. Check it out here.

ABC Peacock LP # PL-59220 (1975) »A New Day«
For today, we move on to 1975 and to another fine album by the Loving Sis- ters. It is aptly called »A New Day«, after »The Sounds Of A New Era« (1973) and »A New Dimen- sion« (1973). I attribute it to Gladys McFadden, driving force behind the Loving Sisters, that the LPs of this group were so heavily charged with novelty terms, new eras, new dimensions, and new days. Does this express the pride of McFadden and her sisters that they were able, for a number of years, to pour out albums of the highest quality? And add to this the remarkable fact that most of the songs they recorded were not cover versions, but original songs penned by Gladys McFadden herself, with occasional contributions by other members of the group.

Ah well, Bil Carpenter surely has a point when, in his entry on the Loving Sisters, he finds much to praise their art: »... they recorded gospel music that was ahead of its time. ... The half dozen or so albums they recorded during the period (i.e. in the '70s) are some of the best, virtually forgotten, examples of contemporary gospel music.« (Uncloudy Days, page 258). I heartily agree. And what is more, Carpenter singled out the LP »A New Day« as the one recommended recording of the Loving Sisters, and let me quote in full what he has to say about it:
»It's long out of print, but A New Day (ABC-Peacock Records, 1975) is as fine an example of '70s contemporary gospel as one will find. From the biting funk and social commentary of "People Getting Married" to the country church steel guitar of "Old Home Town" to the laid-back, intoxicating horn lines of the ballad "We Are One," it is a warm, enjoyable listening experience.« (Uncloudy Days, p. 258).
But, I'd like to add, the entire album makes for an enjoyable listening experience, and though it happens only rarely that a LP comes without filler or less accomplished tracks, it surely is the case here. Apart from the tunes mentioned by Carpenter - and he missed to say that "Old Home Town" is not only a very countryish song but autobiographical -, we have on this LP »He'll Answer Prayer« (a frenzied, fast-paced gospel boogie) and several others, ranging from ballad (»Find My Dream«) to soul gospel (»I Believe«, »I Have Found The Way«). However, the two songs I want to offer unto your graciously inclined ears are the first tracks of the album: »A New Day« and »Slowly But Surely«. They were both composed by Gladys McFadden, the first up- tempo, the second midtempo and, interestingly enough, again with a strong auto- biographical undercurrent. Before you listen to these beautiful tunes let me conclude by saying that »Love Act«, officially billed on the LP, was the instrumental group composed by the sons of the Loving Sisters, including McFadden's son Leonard Givens. And now we clear the stage for Gladys's potent contralto voice, the vocals of her sisters and the driving sounds of their sons' instrumental backing:

Loving Sisters And Love Act: »A New Day« / »Slowly But Surely« from the ABC-Peacock LP # PL-59220 (1975):

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