Flashback Soul: Pastor T.L. Barrett is “Like a Ship (Without a Sail)”

In 1971, Pastor T.L. Barrett was 27 and leading the congregation at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Chicago as well as its Youth for Christ choir, a 40-member ensemble of kids ages 12-19. With the help of legendary guitarist Phil Upchurch, among others, Barrett and his choir recorded the classic gospel album Like a Ship (Without a Sail), which is revered by musicians and has been sampled by hip hop luminaries.

We feature here the album’s title track, which sounds like an outtake from Gil Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man had Heron been backed by an exuberant choir. This is deep, ethereal and reflective music topped by a nuanced and gifted lead vocal, presumably that of Barrett himself.  Enjoy.

By Robb Patryk

In 1971, Pastor T.L. Barrett was 27 and leading the congregation at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Chicago as well as its Youth for Christ choir, a 40-member ensemble of kids ages 12-19. With the help of legendary guitarist Phil Upchurch, among others, Barrett and his choir recorded the classic gospel album Like a Ship (Without a Sail), which is revered by musicians and has been sampled by hip hop luminaries.

We feature here the album’s title track, which sounds like an outtake from Gil Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man had Heron been backed by an exuberant choir. This is deep, ethereal and reflective music topped by a nuanced and gifted lead vocal, presumably that of Barrett himself.  Enjoy.

By Robb Patryk

Listen to this and the other tracks on the Flashback Soul playlist at Spotify. 

 

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