Bible And Tire Recording Co.
Choice gospel blues and spirited vocals on vinyl LP!
Elder Jack Ward has been preaching and singing for a few decades. He pastors the Earth Temple Holiness Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Breaking new ground, it seems, is an Elder Ward hallmark and Already Made — which focuses on Ward front and center — is no exception. But like Elizabeth King's critically-acclaimed Living In The Last Days, it's a direct outgrowth of D-Vine's heyday. Bible and Tire's Bruce Watson was transferring Shipp's tape archive for an ambitious D-Vine Spirituals reissue project when he asked Shipp how many of the artists from his old label were still around and active.
Aside from King, Elder Jack Ward was one of the first he named. King's Living In The Last Days was the first result of that conversation; now Ward's Already Made takes its rightful place as the second. Produced by Watson and Sacred Soul Sound Section leader Will Sexton at Memphis's Delta-Sonic Sound Studio, the 10-song program features the warmly-recorded winning ingredients that are becoming a trademark of Bible and Tire's patented Sacred Soul sound, from Ward's spirited vocals to the crack studio band laying down the grooves behind him.
The title track sets the mood with Ward's daughters providing background harmony and — along with Bible and Tire label mates the Sensational Barnes Brothers — they make several encore appearances, adding an inextricable magic to the proceedings. "I trained them starting when they were about six or seven years old," says Ward, adding how much he enjoyed working with guitarists Will Sexton and Matt Ross-Spang, who switch styles seamlessly from the distorted crunch of "He's Got Great Things" to the splashy reverb of "Shout Trouble's Over" to the shimmering vibrato of "God's Love."
While the album has its share of pile-driving uptempo numbers, its slow-burning ballads are particularly moving, and a bridge seems crossed once Ward breaks into his quiet falsetto midway through "Someone Who Is Greater Than Me." The songs' Muscle Shoals-style country soul vibe sets up a remaining trio of ballads, closing with Ward's favorite, the redemptively autobiographical "I Feel Better Since I Prayed."
Watson feels that Already Made is one of the best albums he's ever produced, and after redefining the dismal blues scene of the '90s with the Delta juke joint sounds of R.L Burnside and Junior Kimbrough for Fat Possum Records, that's saying quite a bit. Ward might have been right there with them were it not for that trip to Memphis back in the late fifties. "I have pretty good talent, I can just about sing anything anyone else sings. I never bragged on myself but this was a gift from God and the Bible says, 'A gift comes without repentance.' In other words, you don't have to be a Christian to be able to sing. If you've got that God-given gift you can do it — your choice if you want to sing rock 'n' roll, blues, gospel — but I choose the right side." And thank God he did.
|1. The Way Is Already Made|
|2. He's Got Great Things|
|3. Shout Trouble Is Over|
|4. Lord I'm In Your Care|
|5. God's Love|
|1. God's Got A Hold Of My Hands|
|2. Someone Who Is Greater Than I|
|3. Without The Lord|
|4. Rest With Jesus|
|5. I Feel Better Since I Prayed|