Happy birthday, Art!
For those that aren’t familiar with my band, The Evolution Control Committee has been doing sample-heavy, cut-n-paste music for a long, long time (in our 20th year!). It’s somewhere between pop and experimental; funkier than Negativland, but smarter than Coldcut. So in collecting sample material for The ECC (and a little similar to Coldcut’s label name, Ninja Tune) I am a black belt crate digger.
To gather samples and raw materials to mash into The ECC’s music, I have frequented dusty record shops, thrift stores, and flea markets worldwide, scouring the endless bins of vinyl… sweet vinyl. And you, the discerning reader and listener of Dinosaur Gardens, are now the beneficiaries of some of the best nuggets of this black gold. In fact, there’s a category in my record collection which holds the best of the best. It is appropriately labelled “Cream of the Crap.”
This is one of those records.
The story begins in Columbus Ohio, where I used to live. The thrifting was grand, and I had the thrift paths well-beaten. One particular fave destination was a thrift store very far out, a bit of a drive but often well worth it. I remember this was near the tail end of the thrift era; even in Ohio — especially in Ohio — the thrifts were quickly depleted of joyous booty as eBay blew up.
In Ohio, as in much of the bible belt and truly in thrift stores in general, religious records are almost literally a dime a dozen. There are so many albums of sermons, of gospel singers, of televangelists, and of Christian kids’ records (in my collection, that category is “Opiates for the Lasses”). Many are forgettable. Some are just good for the cover. Some are kinda fun and/or funny. Some are a scream. And some are all of the above.
I can visualize the moment — flipping through the awkwardly-shelved records, the usual cruft of Herb Alpert, Frampton Comes Alive, Ray Coniff… and then, this headline pops up: DON’T MISS THE GREAT SNATCH. I froze, stunned. In the crate-digging mindset, one gets a lot of practice summing up records quickly, initially based off the cover artwork and title. But this didn’t match: “Snatch” in the title? Adult comedy, probably. But the primitive, amateur artwork didn’t match. Flipping the record over deepened the mystery: There was the Elder Marshall Taylor, bible in one hand looking skyward. er… huh?
I’ll skip right to the punchline: “Snatch”, in this case, is the rapture. Still, I had to wonder if anyone told Elder Taylor “snatch” has some, er, other meanings. Needless to say, I snatched (sorry) the record up immediately, along with another album of Taylor’s that I found nearby: “Don’t Let The Devil Blow Your Mind.”
When I got home it was the first of the day’s thrift scores to go on the turntable. It didn’t disappoint. For out-of-context soundbites, this was aural caviar:
“Two would be in the bed, and one snatch!”
“Many pleasures of life are used… but I happen to prefer The Snatch.”
“There is one thing that all of us should be aiming for… and that is The Snatch!”
Even the non-snatch samples were great:
“…and let me go on to the disco, and get the Saturday Night Fever, Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, and I’ll just have me a TIME!”
The Elder Marshall Taylor is a soul preacher. black and proud. The shaky press-type liner notes on the back proclaims “DETROIT, MICHIGAN” in large type, and the sermon sounds it. It’s great, actually. The gospel music that opens it gives way to Elder Taylor, timid and almost apologetic at first. But he builds — boy, does he build — becoming bolder, louder, more animated. The “amens” appear more and more, and before long, he gets rhythm: the sermon is morphing from speech into song. The audience is into it too: yelling and screaming, they’re getting sucked into the raw energy of it. By the end, it’s at fever pitch — the reverend, the congregation, the band, the din, the chaos. Now THAT’S religion.
It took a few years, but I finally coaxed the samples into a pretty worthwhile song, also called “Don’t miss the great snatch”, which appeared on our album Plagiarhythm Nation, v2. As for the Elder Marshall, some web sleuthing leads me to suspect that he (or perhaps his son) is still preaching the gospel up in Detroit. But as for his albums, I can find nothing anywhere mentioning them.
Here are my ten favorite samples from the album:
- Don’t miss the great snatch
- Don’t go to hell second class
- I appreciate the word Snatch
- I happen to prefer the snatch
- One thing all of us should be aiming for
- So don’t miss that snatch
- Two in the bed and one snatch
- Sisters make the snatch
- Brothers make the snatch
- The snatch could come any day now
Here’s the main snatch-related parts of the sermon. Part 1 sets up the groundwork for what the snatch is. Part 2 has elder Taylor riffing on his own personal low points before he got wise to the snatch. Part 3 continues with snatches in the bible.
And finally, the song that The Evolution Control Committee made out of it: