The Second Coming was Little Richard's third album for Reprise Records, and saw him reunited with Robert "Bumps" Blackwell from his Specialty days, with them co-writing the majority of the album together. The concept was to unite the best rock studio musicians of the '50s with the best rock studio musicians of the '70s. Many fans were disappointed in the material and in the over-syncopated, over-produced tracks. The album again failed to chart.
Little Richard's profile was high during this period, with works including a track, "Miss Ann", on the album To Bonnie from Delaney, a still unreleased track with Joey Covington of The Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, "Bludgeon Of A Bluecoat (The Man)", a duet with Mylon LeFevre on his 1972 release, "He's Not Just A Soldier", a cover of his 1961 Mercury track, and two tracks on the soundtrack to $. He also cut "But I Try" with The James Gang (unreleased until 2013), and "Rockin' With The King", with Canned Heat, in late 1971. However, his own records weren't selling, and a fourth and final album for Reprise - Southern Child - was dropped from release. The tracks to all of Richard's Reprise sessions, including the Southern Child album, were finally released on CD in 2005 by Rhino Records.
Second Coming was recorded in 1972, at the Record Plant, in Los Angeles, California, and employed top 1950s and 1970s players. Whereas the previous Reprise album, King of Rock and Roll was considered to be under-produced and too commercial, the third released album was considered vastly over-produced, yet featuring little of the star himself. To wit, the 7 minute, one-chord instrumental, "Satisfied, Sanctified, Toe-Tapper", was a standout.
Richard recalled: "I left Reprise because I felt that the producers didn't have me at heart. The Rill Thing was a good album. All the Reprise albums were, but they didn't push them. So I left them. It wasn't mutual. I went to Reprise because I felt the company could do something. [...] I think the producers and people who worked there thought I wasn't their main singer." (page 167).
All tracks composed by Richard Penniman; except where indicated
- Little Richard – vocals, piano
- Lee Allen, Bill Hemmons - tenor saxophone
- Jim Horn - baritone saxophone
- Chuck Rainey - bass
- Sneaky Pete Kleinow - pedal steel guitar
- Mike Deasey, George Davis, Adolph Jacobs, David T. Walker - guitar
- Earl Palmer - drums