Originally released in 1980, the scant 500 copies of the Supreme Jubilees' wonderful lone LP It'll All Be Over seemed destined for the bargain bins. A gospel-soul group with deep R&B grooves, the band came together in the 1970s, bridging two musical families from California's Central Valley. On one side were the Sanders, led by keyboardist and self-proclaimed "Donny Hathaway freak" Leonard, who was joined by his brothers Tim, Philip, and Melvin. On the other side were Joe and David Kingsby, who enlisted David's son David, Jr. to play guitar. An unaffiliated family friend named Larry Price rounded out the group. Although they had operated as a live band on the regional church circuit for several years, they had yet to release an album. The Fresno studio the band chose for their initial sessions turned out to be ill-suited to their needs. Largely a country & western studio, the engineer balked at their requests for more bass in the mix and eventually kicked them out mid-session. Undeterred, the Jubilees took their half-finished album over to Sierra Recording Studio in Visalia where they polished off the remaining five songs. The resulting nine-song debut was a comforting mix of smooth soul, warm R&B, and a dash of disco that showcased the band's enchanting vocal mix. The sublime title cut is worth the price of admission alone for its gently despairing Old Testament darkness. As the opening cut, it sets an odd, almost meditative tone as the group foretells the end times with a sort of comforting sensuality. There are certainly some uptempo gospel rave-ups like "I'm on the Lord's Side" and the ebullient album-closer "Stop Today," but the Jubilees are at their most effective with the more somber, thoughtful cuts like "Do You Believe" and "We'll Understand." It's understandable that music with so sensitive a touch didn't catch on at the dawn of the '80s. After embarking on a couple of difficult and hapless tours, the Jubilees essentially called it quits and this lovely album faded into obscurity for over three decades before being reissued by Seattle specialty label Light in the Attic Records. While it may remain a diamond in the rough, it's a comfort to know that such an honest and heartfelt piece of art is now widely available to all.
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