Psychedelic funk-gospel outfit the Relatives return for their final album

Listen to their cover of Tim Maia's "Rational Culture"


The Relatives

In the early 1970s, Dallas-based, socially conscious funk-gospel outfit the Relatives produced a few highly rare sides of gritty, soulful psychedelia in the name of the Lord. After those singles plus an unreleased session was anthologized in 2009, band reunited and released a new album in 2013.

The next year, they began recording another album—Goodbye World, released on April 29 on Ubiquity—when bandleader Reverend Gean West fell into a coma after recording vocals for only two songs. Remaining unconscious for twelve days, West awakened, saying that he had heard God’s voice talking to him and telling him to put in work.

West was able to return to the studio and record all but one song. The band cover Brazilian genius’s “Rational Culture”—premiering here—in which West added a spoken-word account of his epiphany.

Unfortunately, West was rushed to the hospital two days after that session. He was able to hear their cut of “Rational Culture” while there, but died the very next day.

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Produced by guitarist Zach Ernst (Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Bobby Patterson), Goodbye World follows up on 2013’s The Electric Word, the first proper full-length release from the Relatives,  who were previously best known by crate-diggers for their 1971 single “Don’t Let Me Fall.”

The album also marks the return of original guitarist Charles Ray “Gypsy” Mitchell, who recently rejoined the group after a four-decade absence, and features additional guitar work on two tracks from Adrian Quesada (Spanish Gold, Brownout). The band is rounded out by founding members Earnest Tarkington and Tommie West, additional vocalists Tony Corbitt, Tyron Edwards, Kenneth Stokes, and Cedric West, and an Austin-based rhythm section that consists of Ernst, Scott Nelson, Matt Strmiska, and Ian Varley.

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