That Fifth Beatle Guy
:: My Soul is a Witness ::
:: Sunday Morning ::
:: You've Got Me for Company ::
:: I'm So Tired ::
:: It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleedin) ::
:: That’s the Way God Planned It ::
This might be one of the most inviting album covers of all time. It’s certainly the happiest one in my collection. Gaze upon the visage of Billy Preston’s wide, toothy grin under that prodigious afro, coming at you from inside a jukebox with an upturned thumb, and within moments you’ll be shining a smile right back. That’s the gay experience I had when I came across this 1973 LP a few months ago, and the music inside has had me pilfering the Preston section of record shops since.
It might not be his best release, but it’s one of the more ambitious, with Billy putting together an album containing songs from just about every genre – rock, blues, gospel, funk, soul, country, classical, and even a jazzy show tune – in an attempt to encompass the wide reach of the album’s title. I’m posting some of the highlights, to include: the straight-forward Sunday service gospel of “My Soul is a Witness;” the 70’s soul of both “You’ve Got Me for Company” and “I’m So Tired;” Billy’s reworking of Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding);” and the country foot-stomper, “Sunday Morning.” I’ll leave the funky instrumental “Space Race” off the list, because it can be found on the numerous Preston “Best Of” compilations. In its place you’re getting a recording of Billy performing “That’s the Way God Planned It” from one of his appearances on the Howard Stern show. That song never fails to give me the chills whenever I hear it.