Electric / Slide Guitar Gospel – Rev. Utah Smith & Rev. Lonnie Farris (1944 – 1964) – Full Album
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One of the most animated of the post-war crop of gospel evangelists was Shreveport, Louisiana’s Elder Utah Smith. Known as the “Two-Winged Preacher”, Smith began performing late in the 1920s and was using an electric guitar by 1942. Smith’s masterpiece was undoubtedly Two Wings which he recorded on each of his three released discs with varying degrees of intensity. The flip sides exhibit a considerable amount of diversity, with God’s Mighty Hand apparently modelled closely on Elder Curry’s “Memphis Flu” from 1930, and Take A Trip reminiscent of the Carter Family’s popular “Gospel Ship”. This evangelistic dynamo whose volatile guitar pyrotechnics are enough to distract a discerning listener from the fact that none of it is affected with a slide.
The dynamic Hawaiian guitar of Reverend Lonnie Farris should be proof enough of the resilience and adaptability of modern gospel music. He began his recording career when a disc-jockey asked him to record some background music that Farris claimed became a hit record for which he was not paid. He started his own record company in 1962 (Farris Records), and this is the source of the recordings herein, which are all quite interesting and eclectic performances as likely to draw from a booting R & B saxophone style (They Are Ringing Them Bells) as popular C & W hits like Ted Daffan’s Born To Lose (I’m So Happy And Free The Lord Save Me).
“l have to been offered a lot of money to play rock and roll, but I won’t change- I have also played against a rock and roll band and I stole the show.” Amen.