In the 1960's, Toronto was a hotbed of rhythm and blues with a pool of outstanding
musicians who took their blues very seriously. Bands like the Sparrow (later Steppenwolf), the Mandala, David Clayton
Thomas and the Shays, Luke and the Apostles and Jay Smith and the Majestics had large, loyal followings. While
some of the singers drew only on secular blues traditions, others sang with a religious fervor that would have
found its place in a rural Baptist church if they were living in the southern United States instead of up north
in Canada. when they testified in the downtown showbars their congregations were as devoted to them as they would
be to any pastor.
Of all the singers of the day, it was John Finley of Jon & Lee and the checkmates who had the most "church"
in his voice and music. A young Danny Middlebrook was captivated by the intensity of Finley's singing and spent
the following years honing his own musical skills, playing the blues circuit and - as he will readily admit - "getting
into trouble". A couple of decades along, born again as Danny Brooks, he embraced a new path of righteousness
and began to include more gospel material in his show.
When Danny decided to put together a full blown gospel revue, the Rockin' Revelators, he called upon two of Toronto's
most respected gospel artists, Amoy Levy and Hiram Joseph, to join him. Together they have been spreading the word
and raising the spirits of audiences across Canada wit performances at festivals and gospel events and a live recording
released in 2000 on His House Records. Most recently, they played a phenomenally successful concert at Canada's
largest blues festival, the Ottawa Bluesfest and can surely look forward to invitations from festivals across the
country and beyond.
Saved! is the realization of a long journey for Danny and a milestone for Amoy, John and Hiram who will be taking
their message and their talent to gospel music lovers across Canada and around the world, particularly to the United
States, the land from which it sprung. A full circle, indeed.
-Brian Blain/Bill Munson
Four incredible new gospel voices!