The Lost Crusaders
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The Lost Crusaders

Band Rock Gospel


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"CD Review: The Lost Crusaders – Have You Heard about the World"

Brothers and sisters, are you ready? I said ARE YOU READY? For the NEW gospel sound of the Lost Crusaders. This is the real deal, ecstatic, often exhilarating. It will redeem your soul whether you are a believer or you just like to dance. Fans of Rev. Vince Anderson will love this album. Some of the songs here blend 60s soul stylings with gospel, others are sort of gospel punk, with a handful of straight-ahead garage rock tunes. This is an incredible party record, something akin to what JSBX (or Blues Explosion, or whatever they’re calling themselves now) is to classic 60s garage rock. In case you might be suspicious, it’s not camp. It’s just a bunch of NYC garage rock types who love vintage 60s gospel and prove they can play it as well as any church group out there. Frontman Michael Chandler holds nothing back, his hoarse, gravelly vocals impassioned and inspired. As with all good gospel bands, this album has a very propulsive rhythm section, Brian McBride on bass and Joey Valentine on drums. Don’t let the religious nature of the lyrics scare you off: this is a celebration of the spirit in all of us, atheists and Christians alike. You can dance to this. The production, by Dean Rispler at Dead Verse Studios in Union City, NJ is impressively authentic, sounding almost like a vinyl record.

The album opens with the title track, a fast major key vamp that gleefully welcomes the apocalypse, with cool solos from Johnny Vignault’s guitar and ex-Fleshtone Steve Greenfield’s baritone sax. The next cut I Don’t Ask Why is even faster, call-and-response with the women in the choir, crunchy guitars spiced with Jerome Jackson’s tasty Hammond organ in the background and a nice solo out. I Wonder What Ever Happened has a killer 2-guitar intro, evoking Country Joe & the Fish in a particularly woozy moment at the end of their good period, 1970ish with a good long harp solo after the second chorus reminiscent of the late, great Knoxville Girls. The following cut, There Used to Be a River is an environmental cautionary tale – “it couldn’t outrun the hand of man” – garage gospel built on a descending progression on the bass. With a long, killer reverb guitar solo from the Fleshtones’ Keith Streng and Chandler’s ominous croak, it could be something from the recently reunited Electric Prunes.

After that, Wasted on the Wind is a Knoxville Girls or Gun Club soundalike with a great baritone guitar solo. Planted by the Water is a fast gospel vamp, piano and organ plus crunchy guitar and a fiery chromatic harp solo. Laura Cantrell’s sweet, soaring vocals channel Kitty Wells on the beautiful, slow Too Late, Matt Verta Ray’s lapsteel coming in and out like a string section.

Other standout cuts on the album include Whose Name Will I Call, with a Stagger Lee boogie kind of feel, and the fast, joyous Where Did It Go whose protagonist trades in his booze and drugs for the holy spirit, rejoicing in having found a new way to get high. Wow. What a great album. Five bagels. With a glass of communion wine. CDs are available at shows, online and in Europe on Everlasting Records. - Lucid Culture

"CD Review: The Lost Crusaders - Have You Heard About the World?"

Michael Chandler is born again. For a guy that’s been to the furthest reaches of the burny fire, he’s sounding damn chipper. Having opened a case of cans containing industrial grade whuppass on said demons, I don’t think he’s ever been in better voice recordedwise. And that’s saying something.

Taking a perennial r&b gospel blueprint, he’s rallied a crack squad of volunteers to assemble a rock’n’rollin’, soul salivating, countryfried octophonic spree. In the liners, Mike Edison states that this crew exist to “lead the stranded mojo-hungry hordes out of the barren desert of contemporary “rock” music”. That seems accurate to the nation of understatement.

The music is anything but understated. This 12 chunk, redemptive, righteous barn-storming hymnal is yours to live by. If you’re ready to testify then step into the confessional. It’s an all-star cast including wir ain Laura Cantrell taking lead vocals on a couple of tracts. These aren’t tracks, brothers and sisters, these are oozing the kind of energy that ain’t trapped too often these days. These days, the Chandler rasp is prime Doll period Johansen whilst retaining that trademark shout factor. Keith Streng and the Heavy Trash fellas (Jon Spencer and Matt Verta Ray) are also part of the party. The rhythm interplay with the keyboards is mesmerising and could well have you gabbing in tongues out of the traps. Rolling this holy comes from deep within. Chemistry this explosive is destiny, not premeditated. Spiritual to the point of ablaze.

“Whose Name Will I Call?” is like a cool, lost Wizzard stomper and “It Don’t Worry Me” is like a sick twist on something from the Godspell musical. Chandler has put together a revue that will lay its collective sonic hand upon you to cast out any rogue spirits that made you settle for third best. He’s been to the wilderness, did his penance and has come out the other side with some serious fire in that belly.

As visionary things go, this is rabble rousing stuff. Live it’s liable to cure whatever ails anybody anywhere. Preaching it like he feels it, Chandler is a bona fide soul survivor. Find The Lost Crusaders and let them in. I’ll leave you with Rev. Edison’s sign off… “Their message is simple – live, breathe, dance, sing, shake. Get with it.”

The LC program is an equal oppotunities program. Operators are standing the f-word by. - Lindsay Hutton/


Have You Heard About The World? CD (Everlasting Records, Spain/Portugal)



The Lost Crusaders is the outgrowth of New York City garage-rocker, Michael Chandler's appreciation of Southern and urban gospel music and its often hard-edged message of hope and comfort in a turbulent world. Chandler's own musical history began in the early 1980s, with his country-western/folk/comedy duo, Tchang & Chandler at Club 57 on Manhattan's lower east side and with the seminal '60s garage rock band The Outta Place. Tchang & Chandler formed the basis for The Raunch Hands, a rhythm & blues, surf, punk powerhouse which has endured, recorded, and toured for over twenty years and boasts record releases and an ardent fanbase on four continents.

Throughout his musical career, Chandler wondered how to incorporate the great sounds of gospel music -- the very basis of all popular R&B -- into a form that could be appreciated by a secular audience without outright theft (a la Ray Charles), and while bypassing the trite sterility of today's "Christian contemporary" music. The answer was helped along by two things: the declining moral and environmental state of the world, and a show on Ludlow Street in New York City by Chandler's side-project, Chandler & The Chasers alongside Atlanta's Tiger! Tiger!, fronted by Buffi Aguero (SubSonics, Vendettas). The two found an instant collaborative affinity and set the wheels of The Lost Crusaders in motion. With Buffi in place as rhythm guitarist and long-distance motivator, Chandler enlisted the help of recently-transplanted St. Louis native, Brian McBride, the over-the-top bassist and co-frontman of the Queens-based band The Visitors (and current member of the Electric Shadows), to co-write and arrange the material for an LP. Brian's by-rote, fingerpicking style on bass meshes perfectly with the band's rhythm which was provided by the phenomenal drummer, Joey Valentine, formerly of the Star Spangles and, more recently, Brooklyn's Coydogs. With a top-notch rhythm section in place, Chandler and Buffi needed to add some flavor to the mix, and she suggested the talented lead guitarist, Johnny Vignault, with whom she had played in the Vendettas. Also originally from Atlanta, now a New Yorker, Johnny has played and toured with The Woggles and NYC's Brother Reverend. The next necessity was a piano/organ player, and Chandler figured Craigslist was as good a place as any to look; he received this sparse response: "Jerome here. I play keys and organ for Kelly Temple church of God in Christ in Harlem. Born and raised in Savannah, GA, I've been in church all my life and my father was/is my pastor. You know the rest!" Over dinner in Harlem, Chandler brought Jerome Jackson aboard without ever hearing him play.

It had always been Chandler's notion to share the musical spotlight in this project, and he spread around the the lead and back-up vocal duties to others, as well as inviting an array of very talented and established musician friends to participate in the recording of the Lost Crusaders' LP, now named, Have You Heard About The World? Brian sings lead on "Wasted On The Wind," and Buffi has featured backing vocals on "I Don't Ask Why" and "It Don't Worry Me," the latter being the song featured in the closing credits of Robert Altman's Nashville, and written by Keith Carradine. Jon Spencer (Pussy Galore, Blues Explosion, Heavy Trash) sings along with Chandler on "I Wonder What Ever Happened," and plays acoustic guitar on a few songs as well. On the two country numbers, country/folk heroine Laura Cantrell lends her plaintive voice, doing Emmylou Harris/Graham Parsons-style duets with Chandler. Also featured are Keith Streng of The Fleshtones, providing a killer lead guitar track on "There Used To Be A River," and Matt Verta Ray (Speedball Baby, Heavy Trash), on lap steel guitar. Former member of the Fleshtones and Andy G. & The Roller Kings, Steve Greenfield plays alto and baritone saxophone.

Finally, Chandler enlisted experienced producer, Dean Rispler (Little Killers, Candy Snatchers, Bad Wizard, among many others) for production duties, who brought the band to Alap Momin's Dead Verse studios in Union City, NJ. Alap (who is also a member of experimental hip hop group, dälek) engineered the sessions. When everybody converged, Have You Heard About The World? was recorded and mixed in ten days, and in spite of The Lost Crusaders' wealth of talent and experience, the band all feel that the whole is actually far greater than the sum of its parts.