The Rev. Gean West, founder and frontman for the funkiest, grooviest gospel group to come from West Dallas or anywhere else, died Wednesday at Parkland Memorial Hospital at the age of 78. He was one vocal track away from finishing what will become The Relatives’ second proper studio album recorded during its on-and-mostly-off 45-year-long existence.
“He left a huge mark,” says Zach Ernst, the former Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears guitarist who asked to join The Relatives after catching one of its shows in Austin. “For half a century he had a huge footprint in Dallas music — in the church, in the clubs. This is a really huge loss for the community. He and The Relatives made an extraordinary sound, and I can’t point the finger at anyone else who did it the way they did.”
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