Sunday, January 29, 2017

Overcome!: Preaching in Rhythm and Funk/Sanctified Soul and Holy House

A re post by request...

 OVERCOME, subtitled PREACHING IN RHYTHM & FUNK, is a fine set of raw and gritty gospel by a variety of modern gospel artists. But this these aren't the reserved hyms of your typical Sunday service; the songs here bump, grind, and get down in the name of the Lord. Germany's Trikont is one of the most exciting record labels on the planet. They are certainly among the most eclectic, issuing compilations of everything from field recordings of music in Vietnamese street markets to hillbilly music, German music in Texas to killer gospel, blues, and klezmer music. All packages are handsomely done with well-detailed liner notes in German and English. What's more, these records are available from many sources on the internet and in stores -- though they may have to be special ordered. They don't carry import prices, either. The first volume of Overcome! Preaching in Rhythm and Funk features familiar names and some only hardcore gospel geeks will be familiar with, but no matter: the music is all certifiably killer. First there's the moaning, groaning, punch-drunk gospel of Rev. Cleophus Robinson. A well-known gospel singer in that circle lays out his sermon-style singing by bringing the blues in deep in his moan on "Morning and Evening." Next up is the early Staple Sisters with a snare drum and Roebuck "Pops" Staples' snaky guitar doing "Going Away," which sounds more like a John Lee Hooker boogie than a gospel tune until the vocals kick in. Mavis and Cleotha, Pervis and Pops drive the beat and the message home with a seductive bluesy funk. And speaking of the funk, it is impossible to forget the Campbell Bros. With Katie Jackson's "I Feel Good," driving the sexy vocal into the greasy with their pedal steel guitars choogling through an off-tempo backbeat and a bassline that comes out of Motown's Funk Bros. But the best cut on a compilation that also includes Prince Dixon, the Crownseekers, Rev. Julius Cheeks, Sensational Harmonizers, the Gospel Hummingbirds is by the Reverend James Overstreet. "Prayer, I'm a Soldier in the Army of the Lord" is a sermon in the great Southern Baptist tradition with a full choir clapping and chanting their assent to Overstreet's growling preaching while playing the hell out the blues on an electric guitar accompanied by washboards and a drum kit's bass drum from his sons. This sounds as if Overstreet is playing the "Devil's Music" as a way of stealing it from Satan and giving it to the Lord. And the man can play the guitar like Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. This is one of the most exciting, soul-drenched, deeply grooved gospel collections ever issued. ~ Thom Jurek

The Kelly Brothers - Gospel Recordings: 1957-1969

A re post of Preslives files:

Let me join KC in the Sunday festivities today.

Before crossing over into secular music, the Kelly Brothers developed a strong reputation on the gospel programs.  While avi issued a great full CD in 1996 of the Kelly Brothers' secular recordings for Excello from the 1960s, CD releases of their gospel sides have been limited to just a handful of tracks on various compilations.  So it was left for Opal Lee Nations to release a full 28-track collection of the Kelly Brothers' gospel legacy on his underground Pewburner label.   Like most releases on Pewburner, the sound quality (remastering) is not optimal, although in this case I find it quite listenable.  Here are the Kelly Brothers on Creed, Federal, and Nashboro, mostly from the late 50s and early 60s.

The Kelly Brothers proper consist of the brothers Andrew, Robert, and Curtis Kelly.  However, the primary lead singers for the group were not relatives: Offe Reese and T.C. Charles Lee.   The group was first formed in the late 40s with Offe Reese, and T.C. Lee joined later in 1955.

There are quite a number of moving performances here, including the Kelly Brothers' biggest hit from 1961: "He's the Same Today."   Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

T-Bone Walker

A repost by request: 
 To anyone with a more than a passing knowledge of the music being discussed here the magnitude of dealing with T-Bone can't be lost on you. If we are to accept his personal mythology that extends back to himself and Charlie Christian playing on the street as early Teens with himself as the primary innovator. His certainty that no-one records on electric guitar before himself. (Les Paul, Tiny Grimes and George Barnes were never on his map)....then clearly I have been a complete idiot for not starting this blog with the words "In The Beginning There Was T-Bone Walker"....Obviously I didn't go there!

All that taken into account it would still be impossible to deny that Walker influenced damn near everybody in one way or another.

Once again I had the giant Mosaic collection to distill here. I can promise you that approaching him via that avenue would leave most ears numb. This time my benefactor Cliff provided both the dilemma and the solution with two earlier compilations from Charley and Blue Note that provide solid foundation and enjoyable listening both.

As I did with Amos Milburn and Charles Brown, I have followed the format of the Charly and Blue Note compilations but I used the superior Mosaic remasters as source.

"T-Bone Walker, nė Aaron Thibeaux Walker was born in Linden, Texas, of African American and Cherokee descent. Walker's parents, Movelia Jimerson and Rance Walker, were both musicians. His stepfather, Marco Washington, taught him to play the guitar, ukulele, banjo, violin, mandolin, and piano.

Early in the 1900s, the teenage Walker learned his craft among the street-strolling string bands of Dallas. His mother and stepfather (a member of the Dallas String Band) were musicians, and family friend Blind Lemon Jefferson sometimes joined the family for dinner. Walker left school at age 10, and by 15, he was a professional performer on the blues circuit. Initially, he was Jefferson's protégé and would guide him around town for his gigs. In 1929, Walker made his recording debut with a single for Columbia Records, "Wichita Falls Blues"/"Trinity River Blues," billed as Oak Cliff T-Bone. Oak Cliff was the community he lived in at the time and T-Bone a corruption of his middle name. Pianist Douglas Fernell was his musical partner for the record.

Walker married Vida Lee in 1935; the couple had three children. By age 25 Walker was working and the clubs in Los Angeles' Central Avenue, sometimes as the featured singer and guitarist with Les Hite's orchestra.

By 1942, with his second album release, Walker's new-found musical maturity and ability had advanced to the point that Rolling Stone claimed that he "shocked everyone" with his newly developed distinctive sound upon the release of his first single "Mean Old World", on the Capitol Records label. Much of his output was recorded from 1946–1948 on Black & White Records, including his most famous song, 1947's "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)". Other notable songs he recorded during this period were "Bobby Sox Blues" (a #3 R&B hit in 1946), and "West Side Baby" (#8 on the R&B singles charts in 1948).

Throughout his career Walker worked with top notch musicians, including trumpeter Teddy Buckner, pianist Lloyd Glenn, Billy Hadnott (bass), and tenor saxophonist Jack McVea.

Following his work with Black & White, he recorded from 1950-54 for Imperial Records (backed by Dave Bartholomew). Walker's only record in the next five years was T-Bone Blues, recorded over three widely separated sessions in 1955, 1956 and 1959, and finally released by Atlantic Records in 1960.

By the early 1960s, Walker's career had slowed down, in spite of a hyped appearance at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with Memphis Slim and prolific writer and musician Willie Dixon, among others. However, several critically acclaimed albums followed, such as I Want a Little Girl (recorded for Delmark Records in 1968). Walker recorded in his last years, from 1968–1975, for Robin Hemingway's Jitney Jane Songs music publishing company, and he won a Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording in 1971 for Good Feelin', while signed by Polydor Records, produced by Hemingway, followed by another album produced by Hemingway; Walker's Fly Walker Airlines which was released in 1973. T-Bone Walker at the American Folk Blues Festival in Hamburg, March 1972

Persistent stomach woes and a 1974 stroke slowed Walker's career down to a crawl. He died of bronchial pneumonia following another stroke in March 1975, at the age of 64. Walker was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Solomon Burke ‎– Soul Alive!

Hey everybody, and happy new year!

It's been a while since I have posted, so hopefully this offering will make due.  Rounder reissued and remastered this show in 2002, and released a 2CD set.  Unfortunately, this is the original single CD, but that doesn't mean that it's not amazing.  I have ripped it in FLAC and included all the scans in hi-rez.  Enjoy!!

For pure soul testifying, no one compares to Solomon Burke. He earned his title -- "King of Soul" -- by bringing the gospel fervor of the Southern preacher to his performances, and no recording proves his command over an audience quite like Soul Alive! Recorded in 1983 in Washington, D.C., the set proves Burke had lost little from his '60s heyday; he works through nearly all of his hits, spurring on the concert-goers as though they were the ones performing instead of him -- in fact, some of the women are heard screaming so often they should've been credited. Burke shines most when leading the faithful through "I Can't Stop Loving You," pausing for a lengthy monologue before reprising the song and leading into a devastating finish. Elsewhere he works through deeply felt country-blues-gospel fusions like "I Almost Lost My Mind," "Take Me (Just as I Am)," "He'll Have to Go," and "Down in the Valley." - John Bush / AMG

Rounder Records ‎– CD 11521
Recorded at the Phoenix 1 Club, Washington DC, 1981. Solomon Burke is accompanied by the "Realtones".

Bass – Dave Conrad
Drums – Bobby Kent
Guitar – Marc Ribot
Keyboards – Gabriel Rotello
Saxophone [Baritone] – Crispin Cioe
Saxophone [Tenor] – Arno Hecht
Trumpet – "Hollywood“ Paul Littoral
Vocals – Solomon Burke

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicago Hit Factory; The Vee Jay Story 1953-1966, Discs 1 & 2, The Hits

 This will be the third compilation of Vee Jay material to be featured here over the years. Many moons ago Poppychubby graced us with a 2 disc set....some time later I came back with a 4 disc set from Cliff that dug a little deeper into the catalog. Now we are going to explore Charly's 10 disc box that gives the most comprehensive look at this historic label yet offered anywhere.

These first two discs focus on the hits from the wide array of artists who called Vee Jay home.