Lantern Gospel

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....

I'm a huge psych fan and "Lantern Gospel" is one of my favorite songs in that genre...musically and lyrically it all works, and I love the sax solo at the end! I first heard it on the Rhino Records "Hallucinations" compilation.
I must admit, I think the song is kinda cheesy. However, a studio band the World Column was not. They were orignally known as the Segrams (ave.. age was 15 y.o.) They were on the road giggin' almost nightly for years a range of 20,000 miles a year. During this time,they shared the stage with performers such as Jackson 5, Aerosmith, Dave Clark 5, Herman's Hermits, Sonny and Cher. When they recorded these 2 45's they were still teenagers. These guys studied music-one in Sweeden, one at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, and one at Indiana University. Studio heads lookin for a one hit wonder-no. Talented kids who rocked the stage-ask anyone from the midwest from this era. Most of these guys went on to raise families. I'd love to say as a teenager I had this type of experience and then 40 years later people are bloggin about my music. I just found that their song So Is the Sun is found on 6 different complilation CD's produced between 2000 and 2006. Rock on. Benoit and Meyer-rest in peace. Be proud Kaplan and Boller.
So Is The Sun was a favourite on the Northern Soul scene.
To anonymous who mentioned the names Benoit, Meyer, Kaplan and Boller. Do you have any more information on these individuals? I am interested in contacting the survivors to get more info on this band with thoughts of starting a Wikipedia entry. Contact me at jon@noring.name .
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