There’s a light–not in today’s Boston skies (or in any Boston skies for a number of socked in days) but certainly in spirit…that is, if you’re listening to the brilliant tunes of a one Shirley Ann Lee, who P&C has discussed when mentioning the brilliant Downriver Revival box set, which houses the greatest collection of Detroit-area gospel tunes of the 1960s and 70s.
The Toledo, Ohio born singer worked her pipes early in life–at church, of course. She came in contact with the brilliant record producer Felton Williams, owner of Revival Records in Detroit, circa 1967, because her brother attended the Michigan’s Church Of The Living God chapter, of which Williams was a prominent member.
In Ecorse, MI’s very own Moe Asch of funk, blues, and gospel infused musical explosion, Shirley Ann laid out something. That something includes four tracks that were later included on the Local Customs: Downriver Revival box set, put out by the Numero Group, which aimed to preserve not only Shirley Ann Lee’s work, but a whole handful of others, too.
But what’s most cool about this story is when the Numero Group knocked on Shirley Ann’s door and presented her with a cd compilation including her four tracks. She did not have a CD player in house, so they all climbed into the car to hear the tunes–which resulted in a beautiful youtube capture of the entire event, and Miss Shirley Ann Lee singing it alongside the recordings. Amazing! The event was the first time she’d heard her tunes in 40 years! It is one of the greatest gems on the internet.