The Numero Group | Numero 10: Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (The Numero Group)

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As they always seem to do, the Numero Group has taken to their shovels again, archeologists in pursuit of praise over a wah-wah pedal.

 


With all due respect to every other genre of music, gospel funk sits alone. I have never heard anything else play both sides of the fence like this: praise for the Lord over music for the devil. It is profane funk at times and deep dark soul at others, but all the while it is church music. You won't hear it in a church, but it is music created by those who spend all of their Sundays in very nice clothes.

A deep love for the Lord is one of the strongest strings running through the centuries of African-American music. Plantation songs were soaked with it, blues is a dark confessional, and soul music is gospel's semi-secular cousin. But the second strongest string is that baseline that makes women shake their heavenly hips in devilish ways. The two are absolutely fundamental to the music, but one seems to be the angel on the right shoulder and the other his sinister nemesis to the left.

As they always seem to do, the Numero Group has taken to their shovels again, archeologists in pursuit of praise over a wah-wah pedal. The 18 tracks they've compiled for Numero 10: Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal represent a brief period in gospel when its artists listened to what both shoulders had to say. The Universal Jubileers, owners of the one the greatest names for a band I could possibly imagine, appear with "Childhood Days," a reinvention of Al Green's "Love and Happiness" about finding the Lord at a young age. The Shackleford Singers "God Is All Over Me" is a sermon delivered over of gumbo funk. Sam Taylor's "Heaven on Their Minds" has an absolutely stunning opening, a call and response between a xylophone and a choir. "Look Where He Brought Us From" by the Apostles of Music is biblical verse in musical form.

The Gospel Comforters' "Jesus Will Help Me" deserves its own paragraph. It is rolling blues, a magnificent piece of music led forward by a walking baseline. All of these songs blend holy and unholy in absolutely incredible ways, but this is one of the more ear-opening moments. You wouldn't expect to hear these words over this beat -each element is equally diverse-but when you do hear them together, they do something that listeners have never heard before. It is the marriage of two souls that sit in the same chest-one that is deeply connected to something higher, something closer to being saved, the other that is far more interested in being funky. And what they produce is gospel reinvented, the deep expression of love and praise in word form over a deeper expression of that slightly devilish beat the heart is set to. It is the expression of both voices on our shoulders.

The Numero Group has improved my music collection with each of its releases and this is no different. Dare I say they are God's gift? Preach.

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