Today's New Oldie is another Original Version, dedicated to drummer Michael Hossack of The Doobie Brothers who lost his battle with cancer a couple days ago (Monday 12 March 2012). Big Mike played with the Doobies on three albums, Toulouse Street, The Captain And Me, and What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, which included the hits Listen To The Music, Rockin' Down The Highway, China Grove, Long Train Runnin', Black Water, and this song, Jesus Is Just Alright.
Many people think this song was first recorded by The Byrds in 1970. Their version, which peaked at only #97 on Billboard's Hot 100, was actually a cover of the original version by The Art Reynolds Singers. The song was written Arthur "Art" Reid Reynolds and appeared as a track on the 1966 album, Tellin' It Like It Is on Capitol Records. The song was listed as Jesus Is Just Alright on the album cover, but abbreviated to Jesus Is Alright on the label.
To create this gospel singing group, Art Reynolds selected five of the best singers from his choir at the St. Vestal C.M.E. church. One of those singers, Thelma Houston (no relation to the late Whitney), would go on to win a Grammy Award in 1978 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her #1 1977 hit Don't Leave Me This Way.
Here's Jesus Is Alright by The Art Reynolds Singers on Capitol LP 2534 from 1966:
Here's the Byrds version of the song on Columbia 45071 from 1970:
Big Mike Hossack was back with The Doobie Brothers for this 25 July 2004 performance at Wolf Trap National Park in Virginia:
You'll hear music from 1911 through 1973 on MusicMaster Oldies, including the early 1970's hits of the Doobie Brothers. You'll also hear the original versions of many hit songs, and I guarantee that you didn't know that many of them existed and you've probably never heard them before!