Gospel

‘Never gonna leave you’ Evans Pyramid (12" Funk Records, 1978, reissue Cultures of Soul, 2012) plus ‘Simply say I love you’ & more

Apparently transcending its subject matter - the straightforward expression of dedication and devotion - this song by Evans Pyramid thus makes the music's message ambiguous. Universal, while deeply personal.

I can’t think of another vocal performance in the genre that sounds remotely like this (sleep-walking, half-asleep allowing the music to generate the mood of determination, which it does in abundance). On one level, this ‘sleepiness’ gives the impression that this is an arch, knowing performance, similar to those of shoe-gaze type groups from the UK in the 90s, not a man singing how he’ll forever stay true.

Yet largely because of the music – this development, building sense of momentum and sharp sounds that play against the deep foundations of the bass line/drums - this song conveys a message of faith, hope and resilience. Rather than a lover singing to the one he loves, it might be an inner voice, singing how it will soon be over, singing to you as if you were a child, cradling your body, offering comfort.

There is such vulnerability in this man’s voice; it seems like he is expressing something close to his heart and very being. (This is why I feel it might in fact be him singing to his own self rather than a second person).

Writing in Pop Matters Elias Leight comments in light of “Never gonna leave you”

"During opener “Never Gonna Leave You”, there are soft harmonies, sweet and wonderfully melancholy. The way the melody turns a corner about two minutes in, very slowly and steadily, seems like a perfect expression of the song’s sentiment, faithful and inevitable."

Faithful and inevitable

Then, providing more information about the group:

"Evans Pyramid is the project of Andre Evans, one of those musicians who few people have heard of, despite him having played with a number of important figures in jazz, soul and funk. He came up as a drummer and worked with Grant Green, the famous jazz guitarist, and “Brother” Jack McDuff, a talented Hammond B-3 organ player. Soon he moved on to soul groups, playing with Dyke and the Blazers (of “Funky Broadway” fame), the Delfonics (who played a role in developing the lush Philadelphia soul sound), Isaac Hayes (who wrote huge hits for Stax and wildly ambitious solo albums) and Little Anthony (a master of doo-wop-esque ballads)."

You can read the rest of the article here. From the same release/reissue, something completely different, simply beautiful …

Live Recordings: ‘Mary, Don’t You Weep’ Aretha Franklin (Amazing Grace, Atlantic/Rhino Entertainment, 1972)

Recorded 'Live' at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles in January, 1972. With the Southern California Community Choir.

Personnel: Aretha Franklin - vocals, piano, Chuck Rainey – bass, Cornell Dupree – guitar, Kenneth Lupper – organ, Pancho Morales - percussion, conga, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie – drums, Southern California Community Choir - background vocal

Amazing Grace won the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance and is the biggest selling pure Gospel album in history.  

Oh Oh Mary
Oh Oh Mary

Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn. 
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 
Oh, Mary, don't you weep.  

I went to this recording session. It was announced on the soul station in LA on Friday nite that Aretha was recording live that weekend & people were welcome to come, so I scraped together my dimes for gas & high-tailed it down there Saturday in my white Pontiac Bonneville which got 8 miles to the gallon. To add to the drama, Mick Jagger was up in the front row clapping & yelling. Aretha’s father ran the show & the title says it. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. 2 sessions — Saturday & Sunday. Seems like a dream now. What a moment in time. When Aretha was in her prime she could make you hallucinate. When she ran a scale it was like a huge firetruck drove by with all the sirens blasting. W-O-W...I remember her father saying...Aretha is a “stone singer”.  Well, yes. Testify. I was there & must say I agree 1000%.
— Comment below the YouTube video (Esquibelle)

Well, Satan got mad and he knows I'm glad. 
Missed that soul that he thought he had.
Now, didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 
Oh, Mary, don't you weep.

Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn. 
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 
Oh, Mary, don't you weep. 

I went to the second session, that Saturday evening and you’re right, seems like a dream now. When Aretha was leaving the church, so many people shook her hand. She was so gentle and a little timid back then.
— Comment below the YouTube Video (Harold Walker)

Well, one of these nights around twelve o'clock
This old town's gonna really rock
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 

Oh, Mary, don't you weep.

What I appreciate most about music of that decade is the very fact that instruments and voices were pure. No pitch bender, nothing mechanical, no tweaking, nothing artificial..................just pure music.
— Comment below the YouTube video (Monique Purcell)

Cheer up, sisters and don't you cry. 
There'll be good times bye and bye.
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 
Oh, Mary, don't you weep.

Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn. 
Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned? 
Oh, Mary, don't you weep. 

Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn.
Oh, Mary, don't you weep, don't you mourn. 

Didn't Pharaoh's army get drowned?

Oh, Mary, don't you weep.