Classification: The Soul Version
Year of release: 1972
Type: Studio cast
Alternate Album Covers
Cast and Track Listing
NOTE: Credits listed below indicate merely who sang lead on a given track. The Soultown Singers provide backup vocals on almost every number.
Overture…………The Soultown Singers
Heaven On Their Minds…………Sam Taylor, Jr.
What’s The Buzz…………Sammy Turner
Everything’s All Right…………Jaye Kennedy
Hosanna…………The Soultown Singers
I Don’t Know How To Love Him…………Jaye Kennedy
Simon Zealotes…………J.D. Bryant
Jesus Christ Superstar…………Sam Taylor, Jr.
The Last Supper…………J.D. Bryant
The Crucifixion…………Sammy Turner
Produced by Herb Abramson
Orchestrations by Robert Banks
Vocal Arrangements by Sammy Turner
Historical Notes From a Fan
When any show is a hit, a lot of people will be quick to capitalize on the show’s success. In this case, Jesus Christ Superstar was one of the first albums of its kind, and everyone wanted their own slice of the pie where the Passion According to Tim and Andrew was concerned. At this time, many “budget” labels famous for releasing low cost sound alike albums (“knock-off” recordings capitalizing on shows, songs, or albums that became hits) jumped into the fray.
The performers were usually never an actual ensemble that had performed JCS (indeed, in its early days, the number of actual casts performing the show were very few), but instead merely a group of vocalists who recorded songs from the show. Usually, these recordings were very cheaply put together and produced, and priced to own. (In the future, albums like these, now labeled “studio cast recordings,” could no longer be accurately described as simple cash-grabs, but at the time, the use of the phrase “knock-off” is totally appropriate.) Though it may be a matter of opinion, this particular fan feels that since the performers on these studio recordings lack the experience of getting on a stage and actually performing the show in front of an audience, the performances are pleasant enough, but not always up to par with a real cast album.
This is unique, almost to the point of being an oddity. Parts of this record, including a crazy “Simon Zealotes” and a “What’s The Buzz” that ascends above being merely a remedial funk riff to sound almost like it was written for this bunch, are superb; however, other parts (“Heaven On Their Minds” is complete garbage, and both takes on the title track veer into “ridiculous” territory) don’t fare quite as well. Arranger Robert Banks gives the score a somewhat one-note treatment, apparently defining soul strictly in terms of that Al Green “I wanna testify” stuff. After a couple of tracks, this reviewer thinks it wears a bit thin. However, if U.S. soul is your bag, you should make it a priority to seek out this album. Recommended highly for listening when paired with some dynamite weed and a lava lamp; in that setting, it has been quoted as a favorite by many JCS fans who partake.
Listen To This Recording!
Unfortunately, this album is out of print, but rather than try your luck finding used copies through such variable (on a good day) sources as eBay, you can listen to it on YouTube thanks to the JCS Zone YouTube channel, where rarities will frequently be posted on these pages.