Twice already this week, we’ve remarked that an apparently secular Jheri Curl June selection could also work well as a gospel song. Well, for today’s song, we can do away with the subtext: Lucky Rosenbloom’s “Keep Your Faith in God” is, unequivocally, Jheri Curl Gospel–J.C. for J.C., if you will. The song first came to my notice in an Instagram post by the vinyl reissue label Numero Group, whose compilation Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound is basically a holy text in these parts. Numero, I learned, had repressed the obscure 1985 single; I took one look at the cover, depicting Rosenbloom posed casually with his Korg keytar and guns out, and I knew this song was making the playlist this year.
I’ll spare you an extended biography of Rosenbloom, if only because I’m already dangerously close to falling down a rabbit hole and I don’t want to be here all night; suffice to say that he’s something of a fixture in Twin Cities local media, his name cropping up frequently as a prominent Trump supporter and self-proclaimed “only African-American firearms instructor in Minnesota.” Back in 1985, though, he was a less controversial figure, best known as the host of cable access show Lucky Mania TV, where according to Numero he “encouraged kids to say no to drugs and take their vitamins.” This context helps explain “Keep Your Faith in God”‘s lo-fi, vaguely Tim and Eric-esque vibe, as Rosenbloom–over a primitive electronic pre-programmed beat–asks in his surprisingly high voice for “everybody who believes in God to get up out of your seat and stand up, because we’re about to have some fun.” The song proceeds with Rosenbloom continuing to placidly whip up the congregation over swathes of synthesizer (presumably the aforementioned Korg). Over the fade, he chuckles, “Who says that people who believe in God can’t have fun, huh?”
“Keep Your Faith in God” is unlike any other song we’ve ever covered for Jheri Curl June; it’s less “wet and silky ’80s R&B” than borderline outsider music. Had Lucky Rosenbloom been a fringe media figure in pretty much any other urban center, we’d probably never have heard of him; but he just happened to be from Minneapolis/St. Paul, and took cues from the local music scene when he recorded this weird, weird little record. As far as I’m concerned, this J.C.–I can’t speak for the other one–is a little bit richer for it.
More Jheri Curl Music, both sacred and secular, can be heard in the playlists below: