I discovered this obscure 10-track gospel album a few years ago in a charity shop where it sat alongside (I kid you not) a copy of Mrs Miller Does Her Thing. I bought it on the strength of the cover shot: Ken, attired in a lilac tie-dye safari suit and big-lapelled Hawaiian shirt, stands in front of his own church, with an extra wide door to suit his extra wide frame. Then there's the song title When God Dipped His Pen Of Love, which was too good to miss. Here it is along with the three best other songs from the set.
What'll hit you first is Ken's voice, which he pushes to the max – and then some! It's at it's most perverse on the opening track You Don't Know What You're Missing where he gets so high and squeaky only hounds can hear it. "You don't know what you're missing, you don't know what you're missing, you don't know what you're missing till you've met the Lor-or-or-or-ord" Ken wails into oblivion. (I think I do know what I’m missing and if it’s a fat bloke in a safari suit then I’m better off out of it). I also love the way he almost looses the plot on When God Dipped His Pen when he strains to keep up those falsetto notes. This is white gospel that's so white it's almost transparent!
The album was recorded in Dallas, Texas, but Ken was based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and there’s a PO Box number should you want to book him for church meetings or whatever. Now I’m tempted to write to that number...
- Contributed by: David Noades
Images: Front Cover