Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The Mystery Gospel of Gideon
Gideon & Power - Follow Your Dream
A few years ago a spring cleaning session at my wife's grandmother's house resulted in my bringing home a bunch of old LPs that belonged to my wife's late uncle. Gideon & Power's I Gotta Be Me was without a sleeve and pretty banged up, but upon playing it I was pretty impressed. A quick search of eBay netted me a mint copy of the album and gave rise to today's mystery.
I have been unable to find out much about gospel singer Gideon Daniels except that he and his multiethnic group, Power, cut the LP I Gotta Be Me around 1972 and at least one single, "Hallelujah (I Feel Like Shouting)" b/w "I'm Movin' On," for Bell. I have also learned that Daniels was friends with Elvin Bishop (he provided some vocals for Bishop's Let It Flow album), and that at one point Power included singer Mickey Thomas, who would later join forces with Bishop (he's the singer on the classic "Fooled Around and Fell in Love") and then become part of Jefferson Starship. If anyone has any further information about Gideon & Power, it would be greatly appreciated.
The I Gotta Be Me LP was produced by New Orleans expats Harold Battiste and Melvin Lastie. Gideon & Power bring a "gospel-meets-Woodstock" touch to the proceedings, recorded live at a Los Angeles (or maybe San Francisco - my memory fails me as to the record liner notes) nightclub. Gideon's high tenor and falsetto whoops effectively carry tunes like the black pride-oriented "I Gotta Be Me," gospel ballads like "I'm Movin' On" (the live version presented on the LP includes a funny yet scathing sermonette from Gideon, delivered in a growling preacher voice, about the misuse of Christianity - "Jesus is cool, but he don't pay the rent," Gideon says), and "flower power"-optimistic tunes like "Peace and Love" and today's selection. "Follow Your Dream" features a nice slow funk groove with some great New Orleans-styled piano playing, rhythmic hand clapping and Gideon's soulful lead vocal. It's an uplifting groover that is a highlight of the LP. Now only to find out more about this group!