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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nathaniel & Jean Urshan-Sunshine in the Shadows

Could I possibly feature the first look at couples in Pentecostal music and not included the Urshans? If I was to submit a picture to a dictionary to illustrate "Pentecostal music," it would have to be of Nathaniel and Jean Urshan. Together, their music was probably heard by more Pentecostals than any other musical act I know. From their ministry through Harvestime radio and participating in the many Harvestime music compilations to releasing full length records, they were quite prolific. Their sound not only entertained and ministered, I believe it defined the "Pentecostal sound" for decades to come from when they first started ministering in song.

This record was first released on the Lefevre Sound label in the late 1960s. (The record notes say it came after their 25th wedding anniversary, and the Urshans were married in 1941.) It was re-released in the 1980s as part of the "Harvestime Reflection Series."

This appears to be their second full length album. Now that's a guess but the liner notes indicate there was a record before this. (I think I may have it in my collection, too! Not 100% sure because dates are missing on a lot of the records I share here.) I am not sure how many came before it. We do know that there were 78s released of singles, which were compiled on Harvestime Reflections Series 3.  As far as I know, that collection is the example of their earliest work.

But this is a remarkable and historic album all the same. This is mandatory listening for any fan of Pentecostal music. You can download it HERE!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Terry & Julia Gunn-Peace of Mind

Terry Gunn has been in music ministry for nearly fifty years. He started playing in gospel groups in 1968 in St. Louis, MO.

In 1970, he married Julia and began to tour and perform with Lanny and Marietta Wolfe. In 1972 he became a music minister in Phoenix, AZ. Now, this is where trying to fill in some of these details gets a little fuzzy in the Internet age. From what I can tell on this record, he was associated with Rev. G.E. Wesson, otherwise known as Garland Edward Wesson. He was the pastor of what is claimed to be the first United Pentecostal Church in the country: Apostolic Heritage Church. They are known today as the "Phoenix Revival Center." Yet it is indicated by Lanny Wolfe that Terry served as assistant pastor at the West Phoenix United Pentecostal Church. Are these two different churches? Was the latter a different name for the former? If you have any additional info about this, please drop a comment below and help a brother out!

Terry Gunn ministered in that church for four years. During that time, his daughter Christy was born and he recorded this record with his wife.

He went on to become music director of the Christian Life Center in Stockton, CA. More on that in a future post (which is a nice tease of records to come!)

For now, you can download this record HERE!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Leon & Velma West-It's Gonna Rain

From the beginning of this blog, I've enjoyed bringing Pentecostal music to you well known and obscure.

Obviously, not every artist I share here is going to be as big of a name as Murrell Ewing or Vesta Mangun. Some, as we have learned, have vanished through the mists of time, their only presence found in the digital Internet age being the record they left behind as evidence they trod this soil on their journey to shed their mortal coil. (I wax poetic, or something like that...)

This is one of those records, I am afraid. I can find nothing about either of these two on the Internet. Zip, nada, zilch. There's not even a United Pentecostal Church listed in Goshen, CA, where the Wests lived. I am not sure if there ever was a church there, or if they attended church in another town.

So how did I come across this record, you all may ask. Well, that's an ancient Chinese secret. I can't give away all my secrets of how I find albums to share here. But this I know: about 75 miles away from Goshen, CA there was Bakersfield, CA. And there are actually a number of UPCI churches in Bakersfield.

Back in the 1960s, a record label devoted to featuring Pentecostal artists was formed. Gospel Key Records released a number of albums and every one of them featured UPC music under the parent name "Bakersfield Music Enterprises."

Today, this is what is at that address where these records came from:

Of course, I am not sure if that is the original building or what. I may have to do further research on this, however.

So all we know of Leon and Velma West at this time is what is printed on the back of this record. Basically, their names, where they lived, and when they were married.

But some interesting things to note:

This record was produced by Jerry Scheff. Not sure if that is THE Jerry Scheff who has played with such acts as The Doors, Elvis, and Elvis Costello. But Jerry is from California, knocked dirt around this part of the state for a while, and it's not out of the question this was early session work in his career. I am not declaring this IS that Jerry Scheff, but I can confidently say there is not any indication of another Jerry Scheff in the United Pentecostal Church on the Internet.

I am leaning towards that the producers of this record shared the same fate as Leon and Velma West-whatever record of their lives were recorded on paper has not made it to the Internet age. However, I intend to do more research on this humble record label from Bakersfield, and those involved, and will do more homework outside the Internet on this. Needless to say, I have more Gospel Key Records to share, and these are important parts of Pentecostal music history, and I need more material to share on those upcoming posts! I feel these records are so important, I even tagged "Gospel Key Records" separately on this post.

So, as is with most of the records I share here, I open up the comments section to any information you, the dear reader/listener, may know that I do not. While I write this blog, I do not profess to be an expert on every thing I share. In many cases, I am learning about this music as I discover it and go along.

You can download this lost piece of history HERE!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tony & Martha Carson-Thank God I'm Free

I'm back! And I have a stack of albums to share with you in the coming weeks!

Okay, we've featured solo female artists around here and then solo male artists. This month I am going to focus on couples!

First up is the record I mentioned in my only April post-Tony and Martha Carson.

I was fortunate enough to come across this one in one of my many generic searches on Ebay. (And to say I've searched through tens of thousands of records combing through piles and piles to look for one gem is not an exaggeration. One time I had over 20,000 matches for records and found out that Ebay will max out a search on 10,000 records!)  I could not find much about Tony and Martha Carson to know if they were UPC at the time. But there was an image of the back cover and Raymond Bishop's name came up with several results.

He is currently listed on the Mississippi District website as a minister at the Victory Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in New Albany. He is also listed as superintendent of the Mississippi district.

As we already know, Rev. Tony Carson and his wife came from Memphis, TN. They were associated with the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (corrected from a previous edit of this post, see the comments section for the credit!) with Rev. Carroll McGruder and more. We know Rev. McGruder became United Pentecostal. From what I know, Tony was affiliated with the ALJC but I also know he ministered at the Bethlehem Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Potts Camp, MS. They are a Oneness Pentecostal organization, and their work with Rev. McGruder makes me happy to share their work here. It is unknown if he's recorded other records. If he has, I have been unable to find them on the usual used record sites. But that doesn't mean I won't keep my eye out for more!

This is some fairly straight forward country/southern gospel music. Most of the music is capable and enjoyable. A couple tracks really stand out to me, however. I am enthralled with "His Hand In Mine" and "The Eyes of Jesus." If I were ever to hand select tracks for a best of Pentecostal music box set, I would highly recommend these two for inclusion.

This is a great record, whether if it's their only one they released or one among more. You can download the album HERE!