Billy Paul is best known for the ubiquitous soul classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” It is a fantastic record to say the least. That said, the late great soul icon had more records worth exploring. One such gem is “War of the Gods,” the title track from his 1973 album. A 10-minute juggernaut in its original form, a more accessible five-and-a-half-minute version, “War of the Gods (Part 1),” appears as the seventh track of the album. Here, Mr. Paul seems to reflect on the evil of the world, specifically the evil work that Satan has been putting in. Simply put, he seeks atonement for all of the bad as “The time has come, for the war of the Gods.”
Expectedly, Paul characterizes Lucifer as the ‘godawful’ deity that he is. “We see you every day / Father of the lie / You made man die / Where the light shines / You run and hide.” He definitely has a point – you don’t have to be particularly religious to see that. The hatred around the world and the toxicity are certainly out of control. Men and women, with their Mephistophelean ways, sometimes show more cowardice than heroism, with the cowardice being exactly what the Devil thrives off. Paul goes on to describe him as “the one who has no shame.” Again, valid point to the nth degree.
Despite all the hell unleashed by Satan, Paul knows this “War of the Gods” will only be won by God, who represents all things good. “You know love conquers all,” he sings, continuing, “Will you stand, will you stand / Or will you fall.” Again, the validity of Billy Paul is unquestionable! Adding to the glory of this underrated soul classic is the production – a lush, celestial backdrop born out of one of music’s brightest, most creative eras. Only Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff could construct such a backdrop that manages to bring happiness to such a slow, though-provoking, minor-key cut as this one.
About The Curator - Brent Faulkner
Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky. A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles. In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype (https://themusicalhype.com). When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.