Tuesday, January 06, 2015


I would venture that for most of us, many of our good friends are drawn from the circle of our co-workers and colleagues.  Thus it is not too surprising that my sister Kay's friends tend to be quite different from my friends - Arts & Entertainment Types vis-à-vis Scientists & Professors :-)  For example, my friend Ron Ruminski, chemist and professor at CU-Colorado Springs, and Kay's friend Art Reynolds, songwriter, singer, producer - learn more and listen here.

During our Christmas gathering at Kay's place in Palm Springs, Douglas A, Rachel, Rhonda and I were privileged to join my sister and daughter Anna for breakfast at Art and Michael's home near Palm Springs.  Art loves to cook, and Michael said that he likes to eat, so we had a lovely time enjoying tasty food, some bubbly, and conversing.  I learned a bit about how artists get paid for their creative efforts, particularly in relation to one of Art's most popular compositions, "Jesus is Just Alright."  I had thought that the Doobie Brothers were the first to make the song popular, but Art pointed out that the Byrds had recorded it before the DB's, and as seen below, the Art Reynolds Singers preceded the Byrds. 

The Art Reynolds Singers - see more at Art's Biography

"It was in 1966 that Art took the 5 best singers from his choir at the St. Vestal C.M.E. church and created the gospel singing group, the "Art Reynolds Singers". As the first gospel group to record for Capital Records, they soon became pioneers in the development of "gospel rock". Many considered their music too secular for the time. Their first album "Tellin' It Like It Is", went on to become one of the biggest selling albums for a new gospel group. It received local and national acclaim. "Jesus Is Just Alright" was the first song recorded by other groups from the "Tellin' It Like It Is" album. The song was recorded and made famous by the Byrds, the Doobie Brothers and DC Talk. Four other albums followed: "Long Dusty Road", "The Soul-Gospel Sounds of the Art Reynolds Singers" and "It's a Wonderful World". Art later recorded an independent live gospel concert album titled, "A Work of Art". One of the original members of the Art Reynolds Singers was Thelma Houston, who went on to become a Grammy Award-winning singer with her recording of "Don't Leave Me This Way", an anthem of the disco era. Art later changed the name of the group to the "Art Forms Limited" and produced 2 singles for RCA records, "I'm a Bad Man" and "Time to Call It A Day". Wolfman Jack described Art's vocal on "I'm a Bad Man", as the birth of a new Isaac Hayes."


Here is another of Art's songs


DES said...

Art linked this post on his Facebook page, so we have been getting visits here via FB. Many folks have commented over there, so I am going to cut-and-paste some of the comments here. Enjoy.

DES said...

Maurice Pettiford said:

Nice to read a blog that is factual and articulate.

DES said...

Dennis Newjahr said:

Feeling blessed today to have been one of the original "Art Reynolds Singers!" As noted, our journey began as members of the St. Vestal C.M.E. Church' Youth Choir, Long Beach, CA., rehearsals in Art' home garage, the late Gary Paxton's rehearsal & recording trailer in Hollywood, CA., and final recordings at both Capitol & RCA Records Studios...thanks for the journey Art!!! Love you so much, Alexis Donadelle-Newjahr

DES said...

Fred Davis said:

Really Awesome Art! Great article and all true! Love it and you

DES said...

Carol Lurie said:

Nice article Art! Well deserved!

DES said...

Jon Meredith said:

Jesus is just alright but Art is just alright too (and you too Michael!!).

DES said...

Lynette Effren said:

What a wonderful Article Art. Love to you and Michael. Xxxx