Friday, 27 April 2018

Oh Carolina

Today’s offering is another track recently brought to my attention by Bob at Dead Wax, and one which I simply had to own. Luckily there was an affordable copy for sale on eBay; I say ‘was’ because this little treasure is now mine!

Issued around 1976, God is So Good and its flip Because He Lives (written by William J. Gaither) were recorded by nine year-old Joel Stafford, a severely disabled boy from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Joel suffered from a rare and incurable bone disorder, osteogenesis imperfecta, a form of brittle bone disease. This congenital condition left his body unable to develop the collagen needed to build up his bones, and meant that he had to have steel rods implanted in his legs.

Young Joel wanted to buy an electric wheelchair: he also loved to sing in church with his family. “I’m going to buy myself a wheelchair,” he told reporters from local newspaper the Statesville Record And Landmark in September 1976. “I’m going to take it to school so I can roll myself around.” To pay for the chair Joel persuaded his parent, Wayne and Linda, to take him to a local recording studio and cut his only 45.

Instrumental support was provided by local band the Starlighters. Several bands have used the same name over the years, but these fellows appear to have been led by one Bert Starr and they released their own 45 on Unique records around the same time. Issued on his own Joel Records label, he soon sold enough copies of his disc to pay the $1,500 or so for his chair.

A strong-minded young man who enjoyed attending the Children’s Center In Winston-Salem, Joel was proud of his achievement and of his new chair, but unfortunately before long some low-down cur stole it, and he was forced to sell more copies of his 45 to pay for a second one. Luckily this time around he had support from the local community, as the press cutting here notes.

Sadly Joel appears to have passed away; his father’s obituary (Joe Wayne Stafford died in 2003) mentions that his son predeceased him, but no other details. Luckily he left us his single, a lasting legacy to a brave little boy determined not to be beaten by the hand he was dealt.

Enjoy!

Download God HERE


Download Because HERE

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Darryl for the supplement of info and for the Joel picture...

    ReplyDelete

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