The Jubilee Hummingbirds-Gospel Express

Label: Bible & Tire Recording Co
Format: LP

Despite being one of Memphis's most long-running, prolific and popular gospel groups, the Jubilee Hummingbirds' story remains largely unwritten. Early members O.V. Wright and James Carr — both of whom crossed over into secular music while singing with them — have guaranteed their mention in soul circles, but for a group with such a presence in their home city, and a generous multi-label discography that began on wax in the mid-sixties and continues to this day, the Hummingbirds are a living, breathing example of the ever-present-yet-invisible place that gospel music can occupy by its very design. Their 1983 Gospel Express LP was just one chapter in the rich history of the Jubilee Hummingbirds, but a significant one that deserves a deep focus. They were a little over halfway through their eighty-four-years-and-counting history when these recordings were made and they're still singing today, now under the leadership of William "Redd" Watson. In 1983, shortly after Watson joined the group — and with the aforementioned labels either winding up or slowing down their releases — the Birds landed on Bishop Bobby King's Gospel Express imprint. The vinyl-hustling enigma behind such street-level setups as Hub-City and Home-Boys, King was a ghetto gospel impresario who went by so many different names that much of his activity is still a mystery. Aside from inspiring music, King's calling card was the cut-and-paste album cover, which was almost ahead-of-its-time — at least in his hands — in its crudely-collaged aesthetic. Despite the modest original release, Gospel Express debut had no title, but sold well at programs and is being given a second lease on life here.

Side A: 1. There Is a God Somewhere 2. Lord, We Need You 3. Jesus Brought Us Through 4. Traveling Side B: 1. I Can't Make It 2. A Heart Like Thine 3. Have You Got Good Religion 4. Jesus Is Enough 5. Down by the Riverside

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