Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rock My Troubles Away

mid-week gospel

Gotta slow down some! Yesterday I couldn't remember one of Aretha's own songs and mixed it up with another tune. How much worse than this can it get? On the other hand, if I wait for my gray cells to be wired up better I might well close this blog. So I have to put up with it. And so do you, be warned.

Musicallywise, slowing down doesn't appeal to me much. Should I speed up instead? Let's see. Today we make a test whether this works. We can do the testing thanks to Lula Collins.

There is next to nothing I know about her apart from a few notices scattered over the net. Not that the net offers much; the only substantial information you'll likely to find is on Just Moving On, read it here. (There's also a page, little helpful, on MySpace) In the early '70s, Lula Collins recorded for a number of small labels (H-B, Hub-City et al.), Luna Records being among those.
     Luna was established in spring 1972. In the Billboard April 22, 1972, issue we read (p. 32):
»John Richbourg, president of Seventy-7 Records, has announced in Nashville the formation of a subsidiary label, Luna Records, to be encompassed with Seventy-7 under the parent complex, JR Enterprises, Inc.« The first singles on Luna were then released in May 1972.

Now, for all we know, in 1973, Luna # L-807 was released, Lula Collins's one-and-only single release on that label. This 45 regales us with two awesome soul-wreckers, »Hold Me Jesus« and »What Is This«. You could call them church wreckers as well, but what Lula in these tunes really does, with all the intensity of her performance, is wreck your soul. The first song, »Hold Me Jesus«, is a rockin' plea. Lula implores the Lord and as her plea intensifies she winds up by shouting come on and rock me, rock me, Jesus
  rock my tears away
     rock my troubles away
        rock my trials and all o'my tribulation
           rock me Jesus
              rock me Jesus
                 rock me Jesus
                    I know you can
                       I believe you will
                          Lord, I'm waitin'
                             Yes I am
                                Lord, I'm waitin'
                                    I'm waitin' on you ...

                                         and then you're just out and done as is the song.
The B-side is »What Is This«. A conversion song, telling of the workings of the Holy Spirit. (You can hear a related song, entitled »Something's Got A Hold On Me« and performed by Geraldine Jones of the Ward Singers, here) ... I know somethin' got a hold on me. Settin' my soul on fire! Keep upsettin' me. Whatever it is! This thing I'm talkin' about. What is this I can feel inside? Somebody tell me. Won't let me hold my peace! I got it all over me. The Holy Ghost! Make me live right. The Holy Ghost! Treat my neighbor right ... and you'll notice that Lula is going out of her breath early in the song and keeps on hissing for air ... as well she might:

Lula Collins: »Hold Me Jesus« / »What Is This« on Luna # L-807 (1973):

For the record: The billing on the A-side is »Lula Collins and The Stars of Nightin- gale«; the female background singers on the B-side are uncredited. Production of the 45 is credited to (Bishop) Bobby King, a known gospel producer from Memphis.

POSTSCRIPT  04/12/2011
The song (and actually the very same recording) »Hold Me Jesus« was also re-issued under the title »Rock Me« on Michal (# 5-23-73) and Hub-City # 5-26-73. On the Hub-City single it is explicitly marked as »Side 1«, the billing on the label is »Lula Collins & The Stars of Nightingales«. On a white-orange promo issue of Luna # 807, the billing runs »Lula Collins and the Nightingale Stars«. I here include a pic of both labels (left: Luna # L-807A, right: Hub-City # 5-26-73-A):

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