Eccentric soul and funk recordings from an unlikely crew of Los Angeles musical misfits â€“ including psych-rock cult figure John Greek (Reachin’ Arcesia, Beautiful Daze) and members of the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band.
They had a catchy, but inappropriate name: there is nothing forthcoming about Los Angeles’ 4th Coming, unless one counts a copious amount of releases â€“ on rare 7″ singles â€“ that didn’t sell farther than vocalist/principal Henry “Hank” Porter’s Datsun 1200 could take him. When 4th Coming records surfaced in the ’90s, they were often disregarded as novelty. And some of their records were so rare that it took until the late ’00s for them to reemerge, after the sinking of their initial pressing runs. Assembling a complete set of 4th Coming recordings was nearly impossible, until the issue of this, the lost 4th Coming album.
At its core, the 4th Coming was a songwriting duo â€“ Porter and Jechonias “Jack” S. Williams â€“ and a rotating cast of musicians â€“ including members of lauded LA funk ensemble the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band – that Williams assembled at Artist Recording Studio to realize the pair’s ideas. They existed only from the latter half of 1969 until 1974; during that time they issued eight singles as 4th Coming and one as Impact! on Al Firth’s Alpha imprint.
And now, Strange Things, a thrilling listen, a mysterious trove of recordings made possible by an open minded and well-funded indie impresario, which document a very real and very weird Los Angeles of the past. It’s a city we’ll never know again, and one that might never again produce an ensemble like the 4th Coming. If Firth’s faith only rolled snake-eyes in terms of commercial success, in terms of documenting Los Angeles’ vibrant soul and funk underground, he rolled boxcars. This, the album Williams and Firth always hoped would bring them real success, now sees its complete release and allows us to ponder the might-have and the would-have beens â€“ had a 4th Coming album come together in the mid-’70s.