The Supreme Jubilees – 1980 – It’ll All Be Over
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With roots as a gospel quartet, The Supreme Jubilees self-released their debut album in 1980. With only 500 copies pressed, it’s been in demand by enthusiasts ever since. It’s easy to see why as the band flex from classic, feel-good gospel “I Am On The Lord’s Side” to the silky, honey-toned emphatic soul of “You Don’t Know” via stomping, clam-tight funk jams such as “Stop Today“.
A gospel album from the end of the 70s, but a set that works equally well as a soul album too – thanks to the beautiful presentation of the grooves and the vocals! The vibe here is often laidback – more in a mellow Marvin Gaye sort of mode – surprisingly slinky and sexy for such a spiritual group, as are the lead vocals from Dave Kingsby – one of those singers who might have been huge, had he left the gospel field for the secular world! The group play their own instruments, and have this smooth, sweet vibe throughout – lots of keyboards that step underneath the vocals with a mix of midtempo and mellow modes – and production that’s more early 70s than you’d guess from the date of the record – with almost a pre-modern soul sort of vibe.
A1 It’ll All Be Over 3:00
A2 Do You Believe 3:53
A3 Thank You Lord 5:50
A4 I Am On The Lord’s Side 3:40
B1 You Don’t Know 2:00
B2 Standing In The Need Of Praayer 4:55
B3 Got A Right 3:43
B4 We’ll Understand 3:49
B5 Stop Today 3:48
If God had a disco, the DJ would be playing California gospel-soul group The Supreme Jubilees. “We won’t have to cry no more,” the tuxedo-clad group would sing, in high, angelic vocals over smooth grooves. “It’ll all be over”. Prepare to dance and contemplate death all at the same time.
A band of brothers and cousins, the group was founded from two families: brothers Joe and Dave Kingsby plus Dave’s son David Kingsby Jr., and keyboardist Leonard Sanders plus his brothers Phillips (drummer), Tim (bassist), and Melvin (tenor). The Sanders clan grew up singing together in the Witness of Jesus Christ church in Fresno CA, where dad Marion was pastor. Guitarist Larry Price–who belonged to neither family–completed the line-up that recorded the group’s first–and, prophetically, only–album,It’ll All Be Over.
Released in 1980 on the group’s own S&K (Sanders & Kingsby) label, It’ll All Be Over pinpoints a fatalistic mood exemplified by the title. Its lyrics drawn from the Old Testament, its sound from the church by way of the disco, and it’s a feel captured by the album cover–a low, orange sun setting over the Pacific ocean. It is, as Jessica Hundley observes in the brand new liner notes, “both apocalyptic and seductive.”
Making the album was not easy. Sessions began in Trac Record Co, a country and western studio in Fresno, CA, where the engineer was so put out by the group’s requests for heavier bass in the mix, he stopped the session and kicked them out. They left with four songs–one side of the album–and the record was completed at Sierra Recording Studio in Visalia, CA. Leonard Sanders reported having a spiritual encounter in his sleep while in Visalia; the next day he recorded his part of the album’s title track in a single take.
After the LP was pressed, the group took their music on tour, first in California, where they played with acts including the Gospel Keynotes, The Jackson Southernaires, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and then on an ill-fated trip to Texas. A follow-up album was planned for 1981, but it never materialized; having slept sometimes a dozen to a room in Texas, the men in the band were reluctant to leave jobs, wives, and kids for the hardship of the road. The group simply fizzled out, even if the friendships never did.
A copy of the album sold to a fan on that Texan tour made its way to a San Antonio record store, where it was discovered nearly three decades later by collector David Haffner (Friends of Sound). He managed to track down the Kingsby-Sanders clan at a Fourth Of July barbecue in Fresno in 2004. And he eventually introduced the group to Light In The Attic Records, which now presents the album, restored, remastered, and available to the public for the first time.
World Treasures Music spoke to Leonard Saunders, band member of The Supreme Jubilees, who released their masterpiece It’ll All Be Over in 1980, here.