The Living Word (Wattstax, Vol. 2) (various artists)

Band members               Related acts

- The Rance Allen Group

- William Bell -- vocals

- The Dramatics -- vocals

- The Emotions -- vocals

- The Golden 13 -- vocals

- Isaac Hayes -- vocals

- Jessie Jackson -- spoken word

- Jimmy Jones -- vocals

- Mel and Tim -- vocals

- Little Milton -- vocals

- David Porter -- vocals

- Richard Pryor (RIP) -- spoken word

- Johnny Taylor -- vocals

- Kim Weston -- vocals




- various artists





Genre: soul

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  The Living Word

Company: Stax

Catalog: STS-2-3018

Year: 1973

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $20.00



Most people probably don't even know that there's a second volume to the acclaimed Wattstax soundtrack.  I knew it existed, but unlike the first volume, in some 30 years of collecting had never actually stumbled across a copy.


Released roughly a year after the first volume, looking at the track listing, 1973's "The Living Word" isn't nearly as impressive as the first volume.  At first glance this looks like kind of a 'B' team list of Stax acts, with the handful of national names (Isaac Hayes, Kim Weston) being relegated to one or two brief segments. Unlike "Wattstax", this two album set included some non-concert performances.  The numerous Richard Pryor segments were apparently recorded in a club prior to the actual Wattstax concert and inserted into the album to provide breaks between the various musical acts.  Makes you wonder what the point was.  Pryor's stuff also suffers from a weird delayed echo.  The Emotions tracks were also apparently recorded apart from the concert - judging by the material and the crowd response, 'Peace Be Still' and 'Show Me How' sound like they were recorded during a church performance.  Similarly, Johnny Taylor's performances are live, but clearly captured in a club setting.  He also turns in the most impressive set.   The actual concert performances suffer from poor crowd noise separation with the sound of crowd conversations clearly heard throughout many of the performances (check out Jimmy Jones' 'Someone Greater Than You & I' for a sample).  So what are the highlights?   Former Motown star Kim Weston opens up the set with a breathtaking version of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'.  Unfortunately the sound is so clear one suspects it may have been recorded in the studio with crowd sounds added on.  David Porter proves a surprisingly impressive live act on his three songs.  The Rance Allen Group turn in a ferocious rocker with a fuzz guitar propelled 'Lying On the Truth'.  And the winner is - The Dramatics with a blazing studio version of 'Watcha See Is Watcha Get'.


"The Living Word" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Jessie Jackson Introduction

2.) Kim Weston - Lift Every Voice and Sing  (James W. Johnson) 

3.) The Rance Allen Group - Lying On the Truth   (Carl Smith - Marshall Jones) 

4.) Jimmy Jones - Someone Greater Than You & I   (Thomas Whitfield)

5.) The Golden 13 - Old Time Region   (traditional)

6.) The Emotions - Peace Be Still   (Dale O. Warren)


(side 2)
1.) Richard Pryor 

    a.) Saturday Night Blue Note Back Room   (Richard Pryor)

2.) David Porter Show

    a.) Introduction

    b.) Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) 

    c.) Can't See You When I Want To   (David Porter - Ed Lee) 

    d.) Reach Out and Touch   (Valerie Simpson - Nickolas Ashford)

    e.) Finale

3.) Richard Pryor

    a.) Arrest   (Richard Pryor)

    b.) Line Up   (Richard Pryor)


(side 3)

1.) Johnnie Taylor Show

    a.) Introduction

    b.) Steal Away   (Jimmy Hughes)

    c.) Stop Doggin' Me   (Bettye Crutcher - Don Davis - Arthur Snyder)

    d.) Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone   (K. Barker - J. Wilson - Don Davis) 

2.) Little Milton - Walking the Back Streets & Crying   (Sandy Jones)


(side 4)
1.) Richard Pryor - Niggers   (Richard Pryor)

2.) The Emotions 

    a.) Introductions   (Sheila Hutchinson)

    b.) So I Can Love You   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) 

    c.) Show Me How   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) 

3.) Richard Pryor - Negroes   (Richard Pryor)

4.) The Dramatics - Watcha See Is Watcha Get   (Tony Hester)

5.) Richard Pryor - Handshake   (Richard Pryor)

6.) Mel & Tim - I May Not Be What You Want   (Phillip Mitchell - Ernie Shelby) 

7.) Richard Pryor - Wino Get a Job   (Richard Pryor)

8.) Issac Hayes - Rolling Down a Mountainside   (Jacqueline D. Hillard - Leon Ware)