I was pleasantly surprised to come across Don't Let Me Fall, Heavy Light Records' compilation of the Texas gospel band, The Relatives. Largely unknown since their formation in the 70s, this reissue is their first ever full length LP. It features three original singles along with original session recordings that had never seen the light of day until now. Thanks to Mike Buck, owner of Antone’s records in Austin, TX, and Heavy Light Records owner, Noel Waggener, the sweet sounds of The Relatives are now available in a deluxe LP format complete with extensive liner notes and unpublished photographs.
Led by the Rev. Gean West, The Relatives combine psych, rock, gospel, and soul in to a potent mixture. Their first single “Walking On,” released on Lewis records 1971, is full of fuzz guitar and powerful vocals and sticks to you like sweat. The name of the compilation comes from the groups second single, “Don’t Let Me Fall” and is what writer Thomas Fawcett would call an emotional hurricane. To put it simply, every track on the album is great - gritty, but profound and ecstatic. Although West has been actively performing since the group first disbanded in 1980, the release of Don't Let Me Fall in 2009 reunited the group and lead to a new album in 2013, The Electric Word. For more information about the group, check out the New York Times article by James McKinley Jr. or visit their website. If you would like, you can buy the album here.