Theotis Taylor Recordings Seasoned and Served

South Georgia resident Theotis Taylor may just become the oldest person with a debut full-length upon the June 29th release of Something Within Me by Fat Possum subsidiary Big Legal Mess.

The 90-something year-old preacher, turpentine farmer and gospel musician from Fitzgerald, Georgia first recorded the vocal and piano parts back in 1979. The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a Southern-based non-profit that’s helped the careers of Precious Bryant, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and others from Georgia, got ahold of the once-forgotten recordings. Big Legal Mess’ Bruce Watson saw fit to add new studio accompaniment to the 10 archival tracks, recruiting the help of former Atlantan Liz Brasher and Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers fame.

Gussying up the tracks doesn’t rob them of their charm. The organ-driven sermonette “Thank You Jesus,” African-American gospel standard “Stand By Me” and the introspective proto-soul style of “Appreciation” capture a bygone time in gospel music that informed not just the future of Sunday worship services but also the course of popular culture.