“I’m So Happy”
Fountain of Life Joy Choir
(Marc Davis & Sadar Bahar Edit)
From the Black Pegasus / Soul in the Hole / Mr. Bongo 12” vinyl single Disco Gospel
By Robert M. Marovich
Chicago-based gospel music collector and music producer Marc Davis collaborated with Sadar Bahar and recording engineer Tone B. Nimble to inject a disco beat into the Fountain of Life Joy Choir’s “I’m So Happy.”
The source is a 1978 Gospel Roots recording by Chicago’s Fountain of Life Joy Choir, under the direction of Kevin Yancy (the album with the white dove on the cover). So what better track to disco-fy than one recorded during the disco era.
But instead of taking the easy way out and simply dropping a bass-heavy disco rhythm onto the original master, Davis and Bahar focus on the choir’s hook-laden refrain, fashioning a final product respectful of the choir’s vibrant exultation of joy in salvation.
The flip, Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean” White’s “Optical Illusion,” from a 1985 album by the Baptist Assembly of Free Spirit Churches Mass Choir, gets a similar treatment, again with fidelity to the source material. It benefits from the original master’s all-star musician team, including Reverend Quincy Fielding Jr., Andre Woods, A. Jeffrey LaValley, Calvin Bernard Rhone, and Pharis Evans Jr. Rahaan is the recording engineer for this side.
The only warning, and this is for newcomers to 12-inch vinyl (old-schoolers will already know), is that no speed is identified on the label. It should be played at 45 rpm.