Various - Sacred Sounds: Dave Hamilton's Raw Detroit Gospel 1969-1974

Published Wednesday 18th September 2019
Various - Sacred Sounds: Dave Hamilton's Raw Detroit Gospel 1969-1974
Various - Sacred Sounds: Dave Hamilton's Raw Detroit Gospel 1969-1974

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 176886-25776

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Music producer and guitarist Dave Hamilton was well known in his adopted home city of Detroit as a band leader and session musician and appeared on a number of Motown hits including "My Guy" and "Heatwave". In the late '60s, the Savannah, Georgia native started his Sacred Sounds imprint to record numerous locally-recognised but uncelebrated gospel-based soul, blues and funk acts in nothing much more than a storefront studio at his home address. This 24-song retrospective from Ace Records subsidiary Kent Soul lovingly dusts off the fruits of the humble Sacred Sounds roster and, as the subtitle suggests, this is a raw and unrefined affair. Definitely not reflecting the sonic advances of the era that this anthology covers, there is nonetheless a delightful homespun feel to proceedings with the sound quality and musical presentation still harking back to the classic gospel vocal groups of some two decades earlier despite the prominence of added drums, bass and electric guitar. A whole host of unfamiliar names including adolescent boy band the Johnson Spiritual Singers, the Sensational Angelettes, the Silver Harps and Mary Ellen George grace proceedings whilst the a smattering of previously unreleased recordings take pride of place. Amongst them has to be this collection's highlight, a delicious BB King-like slow blues called "Savior On The Throne" by a guitarist called Louis "Mr Bo" Collins and it's almost worth seeking this speciality release out for that hidden gem of recording alone. A fascinating and detailed essay by music historian Adam Stanfel rounds off this lovingly crafted reissue and he sums up Hamilton's considerable yet underplayed contribution to gospel music as follows - "dig a little deeper and you will be led down a beautiful, impassioned, funky, bluesy, soulful and rocking pathway that draws from and contributes to every facet of American music."

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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