The World Column Lantern Gospel b/w Midnite Thoughts 45 (Atco, 1968)
Crud Crud fans, do not worry, I am not winding down the blog, nor am I running out of energy or, gasp!, records! No, there are plenty of records around here. In fact, if a month goes by and you don't see a post up here, you might as well call the Sacramento City Fire Department and have them make sure I haven't been crushed under a stack of records! I've just been super super busy writing other stuff, putting out records, living life. It's been difficult to squeak out some time to do this. Anyway, tonight you get a new one.
Here is a great little psych tune and a pretty good but totally average quasi-R&B groover. And the reason the psych tune is great and the groover is just average is the same. Chances are that The World Column had no interest in either music and were just fishing for a hit. Of course, as far as exploitation/cash in records go, psych is one of the most fruitful genres. From total studio rip offs like The Animated Egg to pop bands trying to find some kind of angle, psychsploitation turns out the nuttiest and often most psychedelic psych songs. Aside from the lyrics, "Lantern Gospel" isn't nutty and it isn't out there. Instead it finds a basic groove and piles on psych cliche after cliche: Eastern guitar, dreamy group vocals, Doors-esque organ, and, the topper, a snakey horn solo.
Unfortunately, R&B doesn't work well for exploitation's sake. Sure there are a handful of cool funksploitation singles, but, for the most part, when non-R&B groups/hacks try to get some soul, it comes off as lackluster. And that is because there is no soul there. It is just guys going through the motions. "Midnite Thoughts" is one such song. It bounces and the singer yells "Woah" and "Alright!" but there is no real energy. Believe it or not, it was also the intended A side.
This is one of two singles that Chicago's The World Column recorded, the other on the Tower label, a good hint that these guys were studio heads. A Dunwich production, which is always a reason to take a chance....