Buried Treasure: The Revelations - The Cost Of Living (2014)

My wife's friend recently gifted me much of her CD collection after she fully digitized it. So far, I've added over 1,200 songs to my iTunes account and my ipod Classic now holds over 18,000 songs. While perusing boxes loaded with her old discs I discovered a 2014 album by a band I never heard of before - The Revelations, a loud, rocking, R&B quartet from Brooklyn, NY.

On the eight song The Cost of Living Wes Mingus is the guitarist, Gintas Janusonis plays drums and the singer is Rell Gaddis who replaced founding member Tre Williams. Bass has always been a revolving door, and on this record the job belonged to Ben Zwerin.

Williams and Gaddis started the band with the former serving as lead singer on two earlier full length albums and an EP. From the beginning, Gaddis wrote for the band and served as a second singer, so when Williams departed he was the obvious choice to become the full time frontman.

The group has a history of working with a host of well known and highly regarded artists. Mingus assisted the recently departed dub and reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry as well as versatile hip-hoppers, The Roots. The whole band did composing and production work for Wu-Tang Clan and Ghostface Killah.

Fortunately, you'll find no hip-hop on The Cost of Living. Instead, The Revelations sound like a vintage, funky, rock quartet with a truly soulful singer. There are no synthesizers and they're supported by a real horn section when necessary. The band is loaded with musicianship.

The album was recorded in Memphis which is fitting because The Revelations sound more like Beale Street than Brooklyn, and you'll never find anything wrong with that.
Left to right: Mingus, Janusonis & Gaddis. Photo courtesy of Wes Mingus.

These soul men recorded three cover songs for the album, including The Isley Brothers' "Why When The Love Is Gone," and that's appropriate because Mingus often sounds like Ernie Isley on their great 1973 hit, "That Lady. They do a fine update of "This Time," an old Los Lobos track, but the highlight of the record was a hit for Gladys Knight and The Pips. Written by Gerry Goffin and Barry Goldberg "Got To Use My Imagination" closes out the album and features some serious, fuzz box guitar riffage that will blow your mind. 

The outfit is not shy about delving into social concerns with their own songs. "Mama" is about the difficulties encountered by a single mother struggling to raise her kids. "Money Makes The World Go Round" discusses exactly what the title suggests.

The band has no website and there is virtually nothing about them online after 2014. In an email exchange with Mingus he unfortunately confirmed my suspicions that the band no longer exists. "One of the fatal issues with the group, ironically, is that is was comprised of actual professional, working musicians. With everyone relying on performance income to get by, it was hard at times for everyone to make the sacrifices and investment needed to get the thing to take off. There is so much hard work and sweat equity that goes into getting a non-traditional, non-pop project to take legs. And with the commitments all the band members had between this group and many other projects we ended up spread a little too thin to survive. And then there is always the classic “artistic differences” and occasional mis-alignment with the management." 

Even though the The Revelations are gone they are worth talking about because you can still purchase all of their music at Bandcamp where you can also download a free, four song Christmas EP. The Cost of Living can also be found on Amazon in various formats.

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