God's Band

"Come Holy Spirit,” the 1997 low-rider gospel-soul anomaly by God’s Band, took a rather circuitous path to release. God’s Band had been built around Arostigui brothers Alex, Richard, David, and Daniel, who ministered on guitar, vocals, drums, and hand percussion and timbales, respectively, plus bassist Jimmy "Jam" Sabala, vocalists Larry Vigil and his brother Aron Salas, and keyboardist Ray Palacios. The ensemble owned by God himself emerged in 1981 from a Victory Outreach branch in San Jose, California, then located at 99 Notre Dame Avenue. A church-only group, the octet cut a series of low-fidelity soulero originals, including "Nobody Like My Lord," "We're Going Home," and "Come Holy Spirit," before disbanding two years later.

Cut to 1996, by which time Alex Arostigui and Aron Salas had both taken up with a Christian oldies/street evangelism band called Full Effect...though both harbored a wish to return to their abandoned originals from the previous decade. Holed up in a makeshift recording studio in the church offices of Victory Outreach, then located on Monterey Road, Alex and Aron revisited their past with a new cast of characters. In addition to Alex's 13-year-old son Isaac on percussion, God's Band 2.0 consisted of bassist Vince Sorrentino, keyboardist Eddie Zepeda, drummer Robert Gaeta, and vocalists Myrna Geovany and Clara Maestas. An album's worth of tracks, including a remake of "Come Holy Spirit,” were recorded over the summer of '97 and issued that fall on cassette and CD as Going Home: Cruisin With The Oldies—Volume 2. Sold exclusively through Victory Outreach International conferences and services, the limited tape and disc disappeared in a matter of months and was then promptly forgotten...surely by Victory Outreach and more or less by God’s Band as well.

Elsewhere, Going Home was being discovered by an audience more interested in cruising than in praying. God's Band's "Thank Him For His Love" turned up on a bootleg Gangster Soul compilation CD, as the only modern recording offered alongside 20 sweet soul non-hits from the '60s and '70s. A few years later, a 45 of mysterious origins and questionable fidelity found its way to market. That single, issued on the V.O. label, credited Brother Aron Salas on "Thank Him For His Love" and Sister Lydia & Sister Merna on "Come Holy Spirit." God's Band did not make mention. The leap from tape to CD to 45 gave the songs a dicey fidelity, adding age and character to what was in truth a fairly recent recording. Isaac Arostigui, now half a lifetime removed from those sessions, harbored no ill will: "It's a blessing these songs made it this far. God always had big plans for this music."

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