Bar-Kays

Holy Ghost

Composed by Eddie Marion / Henderson Thigpen / James Banks

Song Review by

This 1978 hit single actually dates from several years earlier in the Bar-Kays' career. Following the release of the 1975 Cold Blooded LP, they continued to record under the Stax aegis until the label folded nearly a year later. Unreleased at the time, this material remained in the can until Fantasy acquired the Stax back catalog and used the album's worth of material to cobble together the ironically titled Money Talks LP.

The first single peeled from that set, "Holy Ghost" gave the band an immediate hit. And no wonder. This is one of the finest examples of the dirty funk the band was playing at this most crucial juncture; nearly eight and a half minutes long, Larry Dodson's energetic vocals take the spotlight, even as they are cradled among fat bass lines and an insistent circular groove. It made peculiar company for the group's own, now-disco-inclined output, but proved just as successful -- indeed, "Holy Ghost" became the Bar-Kays' first R&B Top Ten hit in over a year. It has become a favorite among samplers, with the Beastie Boys, M/A/R/R/S, and Public Enemy all paying tribute to these funk icons.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Money Talks 1978 Fantasy / Stax 3:58
Stax Funk: Get up and Get Down 197?
Various Artists
Stax 3:38
No Image 1981
Various Artists
Stax
Get Up & Get Down 1989
Various Artists
Stax
The Best of the Bar-Kays [Stax] 1993 Stax / Universal 8:31
In Yo' Face!: The History of Funk, Vol. 5 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 3:40
Street Jams: Back 2 the Old Skool, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
Skanless / Rhino 3:38
Disco 54: Funkin' on the Floor 1998
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:39
Greatest Hits [K-Tel] 1998 K-Tel 6:45
Stax Gold 1998
Various Artists
Stax 2:44
Street Jams: Back 2 the Old Skool [Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:38
Greatest Hits: Too Hot to Stop 2001 Intercontinental Records 6:47
Tom Joyner Presents: The Old School Mix Returns 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 3:23
All-Time Greatest Hits 2002 K-Tel 6:45
Halloween Party [K-Tel UK] 2004
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 7:16
U 40 Partykracher 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music
Concord Music Group (Sampler) 2005
Various Artists
Concord 2:47
Music from B-Boy 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Greatest Hits [KRB] 2007 KRB Music 5:01
Vintage Grooves: Funk, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
Seamless 3:42
No Image 2009
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 6:45
Soul: A Fool in Love 2012
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 6:47
300 Hits: Soul
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 6:47
blue highlight denotes editor's pick