“Remember Me, O’ Lord” Cotton Brothers Song Bird 1017 1964
[available on CD: “Chosen Gospel Singers (1955-1963)/Cotton Brothers (1964-1969)” Pewburner 589]
Those of you who have been following my essays for some time know that I have a penchant for doo-wop infused gospel. These “gospel ballads” – distinct from gospel blues and the sanctified hard-singing style popular in the 1950s and 1960s – are soft, reflective love songs to the Almighty. Arguably, it was this same amalgam of doo-wop and gospel that gave birth to the Impressions’ “For Your Precious Love” in 1958, and soul music in general.
Here’s another superb gospel ballad: “Remember Me, O’ Lord” by the Cotton Brothers. The Cotton Brothers were, asserts gospel historian Opal Nations, “a great underrated quartet.” In 1964, the group signed with Don Robey’s Song Bird label (a subsidiary of Peacock) and recorded a half-dozen singles for the company from 1964-69. Their first single, “Remember Me, O’ Lord,” is reminiscent of James Brown and the Famous Flames’ “Try Me” in its musical structure and plaintive intensity. The Cotton Brothers’ lead singer sounds tired vocally, but he nevertheless delivers a heartfelt performance against a restrained vocal and instrumental backdrop, complete with the characteristic doo-wop high harmony denouement.
If you enjoy the sound of James Phelps and the Clefs of Calvary, the Soul Stirrers’ work on Sam Cooke’s and J.W. Alexander’s Sar label, or are a big fan of early 1960s doo-wop, you will enjoy the Cotton Brothers’ “Remember Me, O’ Lord.”