Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Dancefloor Gospel According to King Coleman!
Carlton (King) Coleman - Rock Gospel Mash
The Rev. Carlton "King" Coleman is one of the last of the great true showmen of the classic soul era, having played drums, emceed, designed his own stage outfits and, of most importance to us soul fans, recorded slabs of raw, good-timing R&B, soul and funk for a wide range of labels. Do check out this great Miami New Times profile of Coleman for an exhaustive view of the man and his career.
Coleman made a few records with James Brown in the '60s, first with "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" (the article referenced above discusses the circumstances behind that record, as well as the interesting story of his first meeting with Brown) on Dade and then two other record releases on King, the two-part, Rufus Thomas-styled dancer "The Boo Boo Song" (1967) and today's feature, "Rock Gospel Mash" (1971). The latter was released as a promo single in a picture sleeve (man, I want one of those!) but was paired with a reissue of "The Boo Boo Song, Pt. 1" upon commercial release. "Rock Gospel Mash" features a very swinging, brassy groove, over which Coleman promotes his dance as a way to make the world a better place. "Rock Gospel Mash brings salvation," Coleman sings with lip-smacking relish, "to mash out racism, drug addiction and discrimination" - no small feat for a soul dance record! This tune sounds decidedly more like 1967 than 1971, which would make sense considering that Coleman retired from showbiz around that time to become a minister, but it is a killer all the same.
After the release of "Rock Gospel Time," Coleman recorded a gospel-funk album for Brunswick, Rock Gospel Time/The Rock Ministry, released under the name "Rev. C. Coleman" (another record I want to get a copy of!) Nowadays Coleman is still doing his thing, occasionally performing with rock outfit The Creepy T's. Does anyone know if he still has his gospel show in Miami?