Calvin Cooke, “What Happens to People” (1969), from Local Customs: Downriver Revival (Numero Group, 2009).
I’ve been slowly building a collection of compilations from the unparalleled-in-excellence Numero Group, and right now I think this one, which collects recordings from Double U Sound in Ecorse, Michigan (“seven miles downriver from Detroit”), is my favorite. Between 1967 and 1973 Felton Williams’s studio recorded all kinds of music, from R&B and gospel to rock and instrumentals, but across the different styles there’s a brilliant vision of musicianship, soul, and unpredictability—like the sitar in this arrangement of Calvin Cooke’s beautiful gospel tune above. Also, the two-LP set comes with a DVD that includes hundreds more songs, which is right in Thunderegg’s wheelhouse. I love it when there’s so much music you don’t know where to start, so you just have to start anywhere.