MACEL ELY II
AIN'T NO GRAVE - THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF BROTHER CLAUDE ELY
Those of you who have listened to that wonderful Brother Claude Ely CD 'Satan Get Back' (Ace CDCHD456) or seen Robert Duvall's movie The Apostle which used Ely's music on its soundtrack, will be thrilled to learn about this hardback book (containing 345 pages and 10 track CD.)
Researched and written by Ely's great nephew Macel Ely, it chronicles the life of a Pentecostal-Holiness mountain preacher and singer-songwriter who, through his sermons, songs and records, had a profound effect upon the lives of thousands and thousands of God fearing people in the Appalachians and all over the south-east United States.
Macel Ely was on vacation in London when he heard his great uncle's Ace CD playing in a record shop. He was amazed there was a market among Europeans for Brother Ely's work so he decided to do some research when he got home. This led Macel into an epic tour around churches, coal camps, hollows and small towns in Appalachia where he taped interviews and testimonials of mountain folks who had attended tent revivals and camp meetings or heard radio shows where Claude preached furious sermons and played terrific guitar while his singing created what one newspaper man called a "full throated Kentucky mountain gallop".
The resulting book is a wild ride of stories about big hearted preaching, raucous hand clapping, shouted out hymns, speaking in tongues, water baptisms and fainting clean away plus life on the road with beat up '59 Chevys, highway wrecks and recording sessions. It perfectly captures rural life in the mountains, how important the Pentecostal-Holiness Church was in the fifties and sixties and the terrific impact that Brother Claude Ely had upon his congregations. Macel Ely has created a fascinating book filled to overflowing with an oral history direct from the people who were there and the musicians who revered his great uncle's style.
There's no doubting Bother Claude Ely's influence on the likes of Elvis Presley and especially Jerry Lee Lewis and even Johnny Cash who's last ever recording was Ain't No Grave. Ace music journalist Eddie Dean says of Claude Ely's music "I think his material is as strong as anything the Sun Studio did, even the wildest rockabilly rarely reached the unhinged delirium of Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold Me Down".
This is a huge book and there's an even bigger bonus in the ten track CD which contains songs and sermons recorded in the 1980s and as late as 2010, mostly at the Free Pentecostal Church of God in Puckett's Creek, Virginia - the place the Ely family call home. The music is wonderful soul inspiring stuff in the spirit of Brother Ely's style and none better than the two electrifying versions (one a capella and one with rockin' piano and drums) of Ain't No Grave from a tabernacle in Cold Springs, Kentucky. Brother Claude makes an appearance too with a thundering forty minute sermon against sin to the congregation at the Highway Of Holiness Church, Hamilton, Ohio in1977.
This book, with its CD, is the perfect package containing all you need to know about Brother Claude Ely and his most fervent style of holy rollin' gospel preaching.
Ask for DTD15
Only £39.50 plus £3.50 p&p here at Red Lick - not available via the online ordering system, so just email in your order (or add to the notes section when placing an order for CDs and/or LPs)
Review Date: April 2011