As great stories in Texas music go, there are only a handful that can top the Relatives’, the Dallas-based soul band that formed in 1970, but didn’t release their first album until 2013. They quickly made up for lost time, though, working with members of bands like Spoon and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears on their proper full-length debut.
Still, starting late meant that there were lost opportunities. Bandleader Reverend Gean West fell ill during the recording of the band’s second album, Goodbye World. The band cut “This World Is Moving Too Fast” while he was in the hospital—a new update to a track that they originally recorded as a single in the seventies—and waited for West to recover to capture his vocals.
West eventually was well enough to do that, but he died shortly after in February 2015, at the age of 78. Still, “This World Is Moving Too Fast” was completed, and guitarist Zach Ernst remembers West as vital, creative, and passionate to the end.
“Shortly before the session, our former manager Charisse sent me a video of Ferguson protestors using the old Relatives tune ‘Speak To Me (What’s Wrong With America)’ as the soundtrack to a demonstration,” Ernst recalls. “Gean was moved by the video and decided to update some of the lyrics on the fly to reflect the situation. That’s why I love him—even at the age of 78, he still had a rebellious spirit, and never stopped speaking his truth.”
Goodbye World is out on April 29.