Friday, May 26, 2017

SMITH BROTHERS - Pack Up / Back To God (test acetate disc, circa 1960)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iy2ZLUX_-U

 
In 2007, I noticed a Smith Brothers test acetate disc wedged behind a desk drawer at Shreveport’s gospel radio station KOKA.  The radio station staff was kind enough to let me borrow the disc to make a copy.

SMITH BROTHERS (test acetate disc, circa 1960)
side 1: "Pack Up"
side 2: "Back To God"

This unique disc appears to contain recordings that never made it onto an official release.  Underneath the surface noise scratchiness, we hear the early sounds of this Shreveport gospel group.  "Pack Up" is the gospel classic "Packin' Up" originally made popular in 1958 by the Ward Singers featuring Marion Williams.  "Back to God" was recorded as "Come, Let's Go Back To God" in 1951 by the Soul Stirrers featuring Sam Cooke.

As for the history of the Smith Brothers, a program from 1991 provides the following details:
While alive, [Deacon Palmo Smith, Sr.] was an active member of a gospel glee club. That club formed the background for the Smith Brothers Gospel Singers, who were born into gospel music. The young Smith Brothers grew up around gospel singing and praising the Lord.  By their early teens they had organized into a group and were singing all over the area.  The Brothers were pioneers in bringing gospel music to area television and radio audiences, and performed for many years over both medias.  They are famous all over the Southwest and known as brilliant composers and recording artists (N.I.R.A.L. and the Smith Brothers presents the First Annual Ark-La-Tex Gospel Awards Festival Honoring Legends of the Past & Present program, July 16, 1991).
The Smith Brothers went on to release at least three 45s in the 1960s and 1970s on the following record labels: New Way, Pioneer, and Custom Sound.

Thanks to Chico's Video Production for sharing online a video of the Smith Brothers performing in 2011.

("The Singing Smith Family," N.I.R.A.L. and the Smith Brothers presents the First Annual Ark-La-Tex Gospel Awards Festival Honoring Legends of the Past & Present program, July 16, 1991.)

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