Chicago pastor and activist T.L. Barrett’s rare gospel soul classic Like A Ship… (Without A Sail) is finally receiving a much-needed reissue. Long revered by record collectors, this album remains one of the holy grails of gospel soul. Self-released in 1971, Like A Ship was the result of Barrett channeling his passion for music, a determination to keep children off the streets, and his charismatic preaching (which attracted the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire and Donny Hathaway to his sermons at Mount Zion Baptist Church) into the production of the album, a project bolstered by the saxophonist and arranger Gene Barge of the famed Chess Records, and backed by a cast of players that included Richard Evans, Phil Upchurch and the rapturous vocals of the Youth For Christ Choir. Like A Ship… is filled with sanctified grooves and spiritual praise delivered with a righteous, infectious chorus.
“The powerful rhythm section lifts Barrett’s simple, melodic keyboard riff high as the boisterous choir fills the air with sorrow and hope … Pastor Barrett could hear the sound on the horizon. The sound of anger, of change, the sound of soul…” – Wax Poetics