Photo: Bill Reynolds

Elizabeth King Finds Her Time with ‘I Got a Love’

With I Got a Love, gospel soul artist Elizabeth King gets to where she always could have been, a recording artist with consistency and originality.

I Got a Love
Elizabeth King
Bible & Tire Recording Co.
24 June 2022

Sometimes it takes a while. Gospel soul singer Elizabeth King‘s time should have come in the early 1970s. After a car accident nearly took away her ability to walk, she bounced back. Her recordings started getting attention, and she and the Gospel Souls cut an album. It was never released, though, and it may be that regional label D-Vine Spirituals’ financial concerns kept them from putting out some of their best music. King stepped away from the music business to raise her 15 kids. Decades passed, and Bible & Tire Recording Co. began releasing some of those old recordings in 2019 as one of their first projects. So King cut a new album a couple of years later. It was nice she got her chance.

Now King is releasing her second album of new material. Don’t call it a throwback; she’s here to stay in the present. The D-Vine Spirituals Recordings show what could have been and offer a glimpse into the label and Juan D. Shipp’s ability to find stunning talent. Last year’s Living in the Last Days proved that King still had it. She jumped from singing at church or local events to cutting timeless tracks as if it were no big deal.

Now with I Got a Love, she gets to where she always could have been, a recording artist with consistency and originality, all aided by a team who knows how to support her, in this case, Shipp (yes, 50 years later), Bible & Tire’s Bruce Watson, and producer/musician Will Sexton.

It’s a given that King could sing the phone book and be interesting (if phone books still existed). She sounds a little more assertive here than in her previous releases, without sacrificing the vocal control that gives her music such strength. I Got a Love might simply be her loosening up, or it might have to do more with some of the broader choices. The Sacred Soul Sound Section, led by Sexton, makes a perfect match for King again, and partnering for a second time must have increased everyone’s comfort levels. The group can get deep into the groove but can also move quickly and lightly as needed.

Song selection works well, with the tracks mostly coming from the D-Vine catalog, but all the songs fit together, whether old or new. The newest number, the title cut, comes from Jimbo Mathus and includes backup vocals from up-and-comer Schaefer Llana (who seems to have guest vocals popping up everywhere). Sexton’s guitar and the organ sound great, but everything hinges on King’s delivery, and she nails it, leaving plenty of space for her words to register. As expected for a sacred soul album, she sings of a love “from Heaven above,” and she reveals her passion clearly, not merely to promote her faith but to invoke the kind of love that she wants to share with everyone, a joy and an anchor amid life’s widening gyre.

At this point, there’s no longer a what-if for King. She’s found her spot and sound, and whether that came recently or half a century ago hardly seems to matter, at least in terms of the music coming through the speakers. She sings with authority, skill, and purpose, backed by a band that knows what to do. Sometimes it just takes a while.

RATING 7 / 10
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