Continuing on

with the Jerry Hicks story from yesterday, I didn’t find the the original cassettes from the review, but I did find Jerry’s last one he sent me, “It’s Still Time For A Miracle”. I didn’t listen to it, but I will track down those other tapes. They deserve to be heard! Maybe I’ll upload them to somewhere so that everyone can enjoy the Hicks experience. I did some research and found Jerry and and his wife Linda on Linkedin of all places. They are pastors at a church in Mississippi. At least Linda still is. Jerry Is nowhere to be found. I also found a track by the Gatewood Singers on ReverbNation, which I am pretty sure has Jerry singing on it. I’ll post a link below. Other than that, it’s all a bit of a mystery….

Here’s Jerry and Linda on Linkedin

continued from yesterday... ...Skip on to track two, and young Sherry is really gettin’ down on that classic song “Build My Mansion”.
Unfortunately it sounds like Sherry is trying to destroy my mansion brick by brick, which she almost succeeds in doing, by singing in a totally different key to the one that the song is actually in.

This rendering may have worked out better if she had actually gone out and had some singing lessons before attempting to desecrate this lovely tune. It’s like watching Hindenberg disaster happening again over and over. Oh the humanity!

On to track three, and father and daughter have teamed up for “Just Like You”. I don’t really know this song, so it could be an original. Since there are no songwriting credits on the cover, we’ll just have to wonder about it’s origin, along with everything else. This time the drum machine, which has provided the steady and rock solid foundation for all the material so far, has been programmed with some extra ‘fills’. It’s clear that a lot of time has been spent on making this track a standout number, and it does, painfully, yet determinedly. Imagine 700 drunks staggering home from the pub on street full of potholes and you’ll get the effect. Jerry and Sherry may be related, but as far as harmony goes, they are more ‘Menendez’ than ‘Everly’, if you catch my drift. “Standing In The River” is the title track, and as title tracks go, this one’s better than say, having your eardrums gouged out with the broken end of a Sennheizer MD 441-U.

You know you’re onto something good, when four bars into the song, you’re longing to listen to “The Pushbike Song”, just one more time. This one is pure, classic Jerry Hicks. It starts out with a lone piano motif, underpinned with just a whisper of a beat. A guitar suddenly drifts into what seems to be the wrong place and at the wrong time. The two instruments are shaping up to one another now, like WWF wrestlers about to move in for the kill, when from out of nowhere the drum (machine) crashes into the ring like ‘Mankind’ in an accursed rage and hits both players over the head with a folding chair torn from the audience.

The church where Linda is a pastor. Jerry could be fixing things out the back for all we know.

These are Jerry Hicks rules and hell, they don’t make no sense. “Well hello there my friend, what brings you out tonight?” intones Jerry tunelessly over a drum beat that is, well…it’s backwards that’s what it is! The kick drum is where the snare is supposed to be, and vice versa, but what the hey, it’s different. You gotta give Jer points for being able to sing against such an ass about beat. I don’t know how he does it really. Sure enough, there’s Sherry coming in on the chorus, in the key of f b suspended by piano wire. “You’re standing in a river and dying of thirst. Can’t you see that there’s a well at your feet? And you wont know ’til you’ve lost it, what Jesus’ love is worth. You’re standing in the river and dying of thirst.” Indeed. The chorus is quite interesting in that the phrasing is particularly loose. By accident or design, who can say? No two choruses have the same length, and this lends quite an abstract feel to the proceedings. Nice. Take an ass-backwards beat on a crappier than crap, drum machine. A guitar playing lines, that sound as if they were being dragged out of the instrument by a not-too-gifted or bright ten-year-old. An el-cheapo electric piano with a couple of monkeys mating on the keyboard. Top it off with the fabulous Jerry, who sounds like he is still on smack, Jesus, or both, and you’ve got yerself a number one gospel hit album. On Mars… I love it!
Today I received Jerry’s latest offering. I was surprised to hear from him since I thought he may have given up ‘the ministry’, due to the appalling nature of his product. I think it’s great, but I’m in a minority I’m sure.

Nevertheless there it was. A brand new Jerry Hicks cassette. “There’s Still Time For A Miracle”. Jus’ Jerry this time. No Canaanland Singers, no Sherry, no worries. Jerry’s on the front, out at Abe Lincoln’s old place up there in Kentucky. He’s got the guitar, the shades. Looks like Elvis. He has sent me a covering letter.
It says,
“Dear Bro. Stephen,
An update in the minstry s (sic) that the Lord had moved in our lives around 1994. The Lord moved us to the state of Mississippi.
Shortly after the move, plans were being made for a new project. Unfortunately Satan attacked. We had a loss of our best friend and producer, Bill Shively of Son Day Productions, in a car wreck. Which caused a great delay in things.
Also, an attack of illness and depression in my life came shortly afterwards. Oh but Glory to God!!! Victory reigns through Christ our Redeemer!!
God came though with a new project and we have plans for another one on the way.
Sincerely, Jerry Hicks.

Jerry’s third album. Is that a Christmas theme?

Well on my initial listening to the new Jerry Hicks tape, I have to report that the magic has gone. Like EP impersonator Alvin Eagle who was great when he was hopeless, Jerry has gotten better, and therefore worse. It sounds for all the world like ‘ol Jerry has gotten a hold of some of those slick Nashville backing trax that some of our own Aussie country singers have been known to use to record albums with. Aw, they sound pretty good, but there’s no soul. I think that all went out the window with the passing of Bill Shively. He was the real genius behind the Hicks sound. I can only hope he’s raising hell in that heavenly home recording studio somewhere. Still, all power to Jerry Hicks. He’ll keep me in good spirits for as long as those tapes hold out, though not in quite the way he intended.

Ian Stephen 1999

The Gatewood Singers – Cross That River… (well, you’re already standing in it…)