Sponsored by one of Detroit’s largest churches, Bethel A.M.E., Two Sisters From Baghdad was a product of LaVice Hendricks and brother-in-law Ernest Garrison’s amateur theater group. Performed in the church basement numerous times in the early 1970s, the musical drew inspiration from the biblical stories of angels and demons, ending with the heavenly coup of a demon’s conversion. It’s hard to ignore the song’s powerful imagery of hell as a “swinging place,” even harder to ignore Calvin Floyd proto-rapping over rapid-fire congas. The flip comes courtesy of Debra Atkins, who brings an Aretha-inspired performance to this steamy gospel serenade.
Co-released with Third Man Records and pressed in an edition of 200 copies, this 45 was only available at the Numero Factory Outlet, Detroit, on April 14, 2017.