April 10, 2012 2 Comments
In the long, storied history of the Imperials, you can be sure that there are many “hidden gems” just waiting to be rediscovered. One of the more forgotten eras of the group, strangely enough, is the period with Jake Hess. This particular tune comes from 1967′s To Sing Is The Thing, which was Hess’s last as a regular group member. Personnel on this song are Jim Murray – Tenor, Jake Hess – Lead, Gary McSpadden – Baritone, Armond Morales – Bass, and Joe Moscheo – Piano.
While the next album, New Dimensions, went farther in pushing the Imperials toward the contemporary edge of Gospel music, this cut was a nice foreshadowing of what was to come. The preceding cut, “To Be With God” was a soft, smooth ballad featuring McSpadden. What comes from the grooves next is a stinging electric guitar with heavy percussion that sounds like something off a British Invasion group’s LP from a couple years prior. Hess sings a lyric that talks about getting saved and having similar faith to Biblical heroes.
In these later years the thought of Hess singing a pop-ish tune seems far-fetched, but in fact liner notes to an old Statesmen album make the claim that Hess could have had a career in popular music, and this song proves that claim true. There’s some nice harmony from the group on the song, and Jim Murray’s smooth tenor helps sell the tune, along with some nice step in bass lines from Morales. The song ends with Hess repeating “I’ve got it!” with some harmonized “oohs” from the other vocalists while the electric guitar plays some nice licks while the track fades out. If you’ve got this LP, or the CD version that Armond and the Imperials re-released several years ago, pull this track up. It’s very atypical for this era of the group, and it’s a lot of fun!