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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rev. Harold Smith-If My Heart Could Talk



Looking back at some of the musicians who have come out of the Lake Charles, LA area brings me to this wonderful obscurity. Pretty much all I know about Rev. Smith is what is printed on the back of this record cover. In short, a young college student attended a revival at the Eastwood Pentecostal Church in Lake Charles and was saved to Christ. From then on, he dedicated his voice and talent to God. He also founded a church in Chalmette, LA.

Granted, Rev. Smith isn't as well known as Murrell Ewing, the preeminent voice of gospel music out of Louisiana. But this album certainly touches your heart in it's simple beauty.

I am unsure when it was recorded. However, the sound quality here sounds like it was recorded on tape then transferred to vinyl. You can hear when the tape machine turns off at the end of some of the tracks and the ever present tape hiss is present on all the tracks! It doesn't sound very clear or professionally recorded as many of the records I shared here, but that does not stop the Spirit of God moving while you listen to these vintage recordings.

Also I think it's worth pointing out that Rev. John R Cupit wrote the album notes. He was a pastor of the First Pentecostal Church in New Orleans, LA. He was there for 49 years from March 1964 until is death on November 28, 2013. He was also a student of the Apostolic Bible Institute and the Tupelo Bible College.

This is certainly an obscure selection from the history of Pentecostal music and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Conqueror's Quartet-Song of the Conqueror



In the past couple months, one of the most oft viewed posts on my blog has been Murrell Ewing's "The Good Times." People have also emailed me requesting I post more of his music.

Well, I have all his albums to share, yes I do! So in the future who knows!

But as anybody who has followed this blog for quite some time knows, I love to share more obscure treasures. That's why you haven't seen a lot of Lanny Wolfe here, because all his music is still in print on his website. It's not necessarily a copy right concern (anybody who owns the rights to the music and doesn't want me to share it is free to contact me) but sharing his music isn't exactly sharing rare treasures when they are all one Internet search away from anybody looking for it.

And Murrell Ewing's music was recently re-issued on CD in a box set. That doesn't mean you won't see me ever share the vinyl copies of these albums in the future, but for now, those records are not the rare forgotten treasures I love to share.

But that box set is not complete. For example, there's Murrell's work with The Conqueror's Quartet that does not get a lot of mention anymore.

As best as I can figure, his quartet albums came out between his vinyl record debut and his sophomore album, "The Good Times." (Wait...was "The Good Times" his debut album? More on that later, dear reader!)

Now I may not be right. There are no dates on these records. I am eyeballing that based on how young he looks here.

Of course, Rev. Ewing is the main draw here for any Pentecostal music listener. He recorded this while he was a young pastor still in Lake Charles, Louisiana. According to the liner notes, he began his ministry (and one assumes also music ministry) when he was 17 years old! Oh, to find those early recordings, if they exist!

Joining Rev. Ewing in this quartet is Kenneth Brady, Rev. M.D. Treece on first tenor, and Charles Carruth on bass. Rev. Treece also pastored a church in Lake Charles at the time of this recording. Rev. Treece went on to be a sensational preacher better known for his books than his singing. I can't find much about Kenneth and Charles online at this point.

This was just a sign of the rich musical heritage that came out of the Lake Charles, LA area. Murrell Ewing will always be the best known name of the musicians from that church, but this month I am going to bring you some more music from the same area and church, including another rarity from the man himself! So stay "tuned!"


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Mickey Mangun-Mickey Mangun


What better way to end National Women's History Month than to look back at one of the staples of Pentecostal music, Mickey Mangun?

Now, if you have not heard of Mickey Mangun, that's fine. There's a first time for everybody and if your first time is here, then that's great! I share music on this blog to bring music to people that they might have never heard of before.

But if you've been following Pentecostal music for any length of time, the Manguns are well known. Mickey's mother-in-law, Vesta, has released a number of albums herself. And Mickey herself comes from a well known family in the Pentecostal church being the daughter of James Lumpkin. He was the director of Harvestime Radio. He was a pastor in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he later became the District Superintendent. He also founded North Side Christian Academy in Fort Smith in 1978.

But this blog isn't about his historical contributions to the church, but I want to focus instead on his daughter. In 1956, James moves his family, including Mickey and Jim Jr, to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he attended the Apostolic Bible Institute. It is little wonder growing up in this environment, with great Bible college music, Harvestime Radio, and her mother being a powerful spiritual singer in the church drove Mickey to sing and to record records of her own.

And what a ministry she had! She's recorded a number of solo albums herself and has appeared on countless records and choir recordings. Videos of her singing are plentiful on You Tube. She continues to minister with her husband at the Pentecostals of Alexandria in Louisiana.

This particular record comes on the Rainbow Sound label, which I linked in my favorite links to the right. Rainbow Sound was not exclusively Pentecostal, but they did release a number of UPCI albums. There are also people out there who collect records from this label, and I find it interesting this record features a different logo than the majority of Rainbow Sound records I have found.

Mickey Mangun has an amazing voice, and it's no wonder her ministry has touched souls across generations.

This record is from 1980 and still sounds amazing and timeless to this day.

Enjoy.



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ruth Munsey-Hold Back the Night


Ruth Munsey is a well known name if you followed Pentecostal music in the 70s and into the 80s. Aside from her solo albums, she was also featured on records from Lanny Wolfe's National Music Ministry Conference and the Pentecostal Publishing House picked her to be the voice of a record of Sunday School songs.

She married Rev. Frank Munsey and together founded the Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana in 1953 and retired in 1985 and their son, Steve, was elected as pastor. Today, the church is no longer UPCI. Not much information is found online about when they split, but Steve Munsey reportedly left the UPCI in 1982 following some negative events at the 1982 General Conference. Back in the day before he left he was a high profile evangelist with the flair for theatrics and the dramatic in his preaching. He has also appeared on TBN, the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Over the years, it seems not a lot of good is found about the Munsey's online. I have no doubt that Ruth's music ministry touched hearts, but it seems to be eclipsed today by her son's actions. Today, he's marked as a "prosperity preacher" and an "empty suit preacher," a negative stigma for sure. In 2013, the church that Frank and Ruth founded faced foreclosure.

Just goes to show you not every story behind these records is going to be a happy one.

Rev. Frank Munsey (known later as Bishop) passed away Feb 5, 2011 at age 80. Ruth, as best as I can find, is still living.

Looking aside from her son's antics, I want to take a look back at Ruth's music ministry. This record is wonderfully recorded, but a few things of note (that also gives you a little idea the work that goes into sharing these records.)

As long time readers know, I've teased about bringing Ruth's music to this blog back in 2015. The reason it took three years was because I was less than satisfied with the sound quality of the records I had. In other words, they were in less than desirable condition. I realize I could post them as is, but this blog really is more to me than just sharing records. It's about preserving the records. And, if the copies I have are in less than desirable condition, I try to repair what I can in Audacity. I felt the copies of the records I had were going to be time consuming efforts to digitize and restore. So I kept putting them off.

Not too long ago, I came across a sealed copy of this record. And....the issues I had with the first copy I had are repeated here.

I have heard stories from collectors in the past that some records are pressed in such away by cost cutting factories that the flaws are just on the records themselves, nothing to do with condition. I want to stress-the digital copy you are going to hear of this record comes from a still sealed mint copy of the record. The only time a needle has seen this record was the first time I digitized it.

There is a crackling audio distortion I believe in track two. I went back and listened to my opened copy of the record, and it's the exact same thing.

The track with the worst quality is the final track on side one, "But For the Grace of God." The latter portion of the song has this repeated scratch sound that would suggest this came from a record in good condition. Nope, dear reader, this is from a mint newly opened copy, just as fresh as if I purchased it brand new from the store or from the Pentecostal Publishing House.

This scratch sound is exactly the same on my opened copy of the record.

So...it has to be a factory defect of some sort. Were all the copies of the record affected like this off the presses? Well, honestly, I will probably never know, because I am not going to keep trying to buy copies to find that one allusive one that is 100% flawless. I did what I could to clean up the scratchy sounds in Audacity but I could only do so much.

So with that, I would like to present to you this great treasure of Pentecostal music from the 1970s!