It`s always an interesting conundrum when a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, such as this writer, comes face to face with deep, spiritual urgency, like that which underpins Greg Belson’s superb Divine Funk collection. The rational, reasoning, scientific mind finds itself side-lined, waylaid by twelve soul-searing protestations to the power of the lord. Crucifixion, redemption, rebirth, call-and-response meltdowns, heartfelt hosannas, hallelujahs dredged up from the depths of the heart and soul – total and utter conviction that there is something else going on out there, something you can’t see, you can’t reason with. Faith, that’s what it is, essentially: and rationality stands powerless before it.
And for those of us without the armour of faith? Well fortunately the godless can rejoice also, as the troubles of the world certainly afflict us all, and you won’t find a more complete rendering of those troubles than here. So it is that The Christian Harmonizers take the phrase ‘Troubles of The World*’ and riff on it mercilessly: ‘I’m going home to live with God…there won’t be no more weeping and wailing’. Too much heartache and pain they say, and you know they’re right, every time. The laid back bounce and roll of ‘Jesus Is Watching You’ by The Gospel Travellers comes back to the familiar themes: bad luck and hard times. The bass bumps, the backing vocalists are on fire: you been chasing another man’s wife? Jesus is watching you, brother…
The Gospel Ambassadors chip in with a supercharged version of This Little Light Of Mine: the organ leading the way, the uplift, palpable: we’ve all got to let it shine, shine, shine. Three minutes of life instruction – invaluable boogie lesson of the day. Vocal Aires ease back just a bit on ‘Save A Seat For Me’. You’re sensing a theme here, right? The lure of the afterlife is strong: there’s a band of angels on the loose and they’ve got your number, so best get your seating arrangements in hand before you go.
Props go to both Greg Belson and Cultures of Soul: this is deeper than deep digging for sure. From the vaults of obscurity onto dancefloors and playlists worldwide – that’s a pretty powerful resurrection all of its own. As Preacherman Isidore Womack wraps up the proceedings with ‘I’ve Got Power In My Mind’ you can only nod your head and agree: ‘I’ve got loving in my heart’ sings Isidore…’I’ve got power in my mind’. A beautiful, spiritual way to round up a beautiful, spiritual collection. I might not believe in the power of the lord, but I certainly believe in the power of music. Amen to that.
Greg Belson’s Divine Funk is available directly from Deano Sounds Cultures of Soul.
*Don`t forget to also check Sinead O`Connor`s recent incredible reading on Heavenly Recordings – Rob