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Shirley Ann Lee

 

SONGS OF LIGHT

44003


 
LP
$15
 

 
MP3
$10
 

After wrapping the tracklist for Local Customs: Downriver Revival, we knew there was a smaller second record buried in the mountains of tape rescued from Felton Williams’ Ecorse, Michigan, basement. Born at the tail-end of a Depression that darkened the entire United States, Shirley Ann Lee took her talent as a singer and pianist from a grim, overcrowded house in Toledo, Ohio, to a glamorous, gospel-fueled adolescence on the road and in Nashville. It wasn’t until her return to Toledo after a disastrous marriage in Los Angeles that, for the first time in almost two decades of public performances, she found the urge to praise God with her own words. As the Revival label’s lone “star,” Shirley Ann Lee was afforded dozens of opportunities to record her songs, but only six sides managed to trickle out on 45 between 1967 and 1969. Using Revival’s aborted Shirley Ann Lee Radio Hour program as our guide, we’ve taken the best of her proper studio recordings, in-the-moment sketches, out-of-tune piano demos, and rehearsals with young kids talking in the background and created the Shirley Ann Lee album that never was. A one-LP revival of an unheralded gospel giant that is sure to convert the non-believers.

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