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The Electric Word

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iTunes Review

The Relatives are a Dallas psychedelic-soul and gospel-funk band that formed in the '70s. They released a few singles and shared stages with The Staple Singers and The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi before vanishing. But after the good folks at Heavy Light released a compilation of their limited recordings (Don’t Let Me Fall) in 2009, the band regained lost traction and finally recorded a debut album—43 years after forming. The Electric Word opens with the aptly titled “Things Are Changing.” It starts with soul-saturated singing between brothers (and holy men) The Reverend Gean West and The Reverend Tommie West. Punctuated by the timeless tones of guitarist Zach Ernst from Black Joe Lewis, the song unfolds into a hard-grooving funk number with late-‘60s acid-rock leads and groovy organ parts before “Let Your Light Shine” erupts with bellbottomed wah-wah pedal over a loose and juicy rhythm section that sounds borrowed from Funkadelic. The Relatives' penchant for timeless, soulful psychedelic funk extends into “Bad Trip” and the moody standout “Revelations.”

Customer Reviews


Stumbled over this listening to the World Cafe. Just had to get it! This is unbridled real heartfelt music with meaning. So glad you guys decided to share it with the rest of us. In a time when popular musicians are being told that you have to shake your junk and dance half naked to be deemed "good", these guys come out and show them how to be "great."

Solid like a Rock!

Solid album with wonderful melodies! Can't wait to see them live at Wilco's Solid Sound Fest at Mass MoCA!

Amazing live and on the new album!

The Relatives get the whole audience going with their live shows! Excited to take that experience home with this album!


Formed: Dallas, TX

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '70s, '10s

A group that fuses gospel, funk, and psychedelic soul, the Relatives were formed in 1970 by Dallas, Texas natives Reverend Gean West and Reverend Tommie West. While they released some singles that made some impact on a local level, they were known more for their performances and opened for the likes of the Staple Singers and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. Once the '70s gave way to the '80s, the group went inactive but resumed in the wake of Don't Let Me Fall, a compilation released by Heavy...
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The Electric Word, The Relatives
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