Small-press Southern piano gospel blues: "Somebody's Gone" by Bro. Theotis Taylor


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Download: “Somebody’s Gone” — Bro. Theotis Taylor (mp3)

A 1976 Pitch Records 45 side by Bro. Theotis Taylor coming to us via The Pitch/Gusman Story, a 3xcd, 71-track set available for $19.99 (!) direct from the good people at Big Legal Mess Records of Oxford, Mississisppi.

A note regarding the song’s producer from the compiler at after the jump…

Waymon Augustus Jones was born into a Bulloch County, Georgia farming family in June 1932. He moved to Washington DC after graduating from high school, spent five years in the Navy, and tried on several occupations before relocating to Savannah, Georgia to study accounting at Savannah State University. Waymon Jones was long interested in music, although his brother Furman says they both had voices that would prompt people to ask them to “sing solo – so low we can’t hear you.” In 1967 he abandoned his studies and opened the Gusman Co record shop at 1210 East Broad Street in Savannah. “Gusman” was his nickname since childhood, derived from his middle name. From the outset the Gusman Co was a gathering place for local gospel singers, and Jones built a recording studio attached to the shop. Not long after opening the record shop Waymon Jones purchased the Pitch label from an unknown person. Several Pitch 45’s had already been released, some of them probably recorded as early as the mid-50’s. Jones was soon releasing records on his revived Pitch label, and later on Gusman records. If all the numbers were used it appears that there may have been seventy eight 45’s released on Pitch, perhaps fifteen on Gusman, and five albums are known.The last Waymon Jones’ produced record was released in 1978. After several moves and weathering a flood and burglary, he closed the record shop doors for good in 2001 or 2002. He passed away in Statesboro, Georgia in August, 2004. The White Family Singers, the first group he recorded, sang at his funeral. Although not as well known today as some other small, independent gospel imprints of the time, the Pitch/Gusman output is as good or better than most. The catalog is varied and deep, featuring some of the finest gospel artists in the area, leaving a wonderful, lasting musical legacy.

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

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