Exclusive Daily Download: "O Yes My Lord," Voices of Conquest

An amazing, recently unearthed classic of gospel funk.

Published September 4, 2006 7:01AM (EDT)

Reissue label the Numero Group maintains an extraordinarily high level of quality, both on the curatorial end of their compilations and in the packaging and liner notes that accompany every release. But even more impressive is how often they manage to unearth not just high-quality, overlooked songs, but truly astonishing pieces of music; songs that sound like nothing you've ever heard before and that, even if they didn't become hits at the time of their release -- and most of these songs are too strange to have ever been hits -- should surely have become ubiquitous cult classics in the intervening years. I'm talking about tracks like Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr's "You Can't Blame Me," Jennie Pearl's "Maybe in Another Year," Altyrone Deno Brown's "Sweet Pea" -- all, I'm proud to say, available as Salon exclusive free downloads. The label's latest release, "Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal" -- documenting a genre that the liner notes describe as "created after the fact, a product of years spent sifting through bland 45s and LPs, searching for a few bars of God on the good foot" -- is good all the way through, but also has another one of these really outstanding tracks. Detroit's Voices of Conquest were a 20-piece gospel choir, accompanied not by an organist, not by a smooth, churchy ensemble, but by a single, thunderous drummer, and together this bizarre ensemble made a holy racket, passionate, profound and absurd.

-- T.B.

By Salon Staff

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