Every once in a while when I find the time I very much enjoy listening to the Sinner’s Crossroads show on the wonderful WFMU radio station. It features “Scratchy vanity 45’s, pilfered field recordings, muddy, homemade congregational tapes and vintage commercial gospel throw-downs: a little preachin’, a little salvation and a little audio tomfoolery…”
It was listening to the last week that I came across this track, from 1950. I found it’s raw, fervent energy to be utterly spellbinding.
My musical diet of late has been been an odd mixture. Off-kilter modern Electronica and early Soul and Gospel. As I mentioned before, I seem to have an outsized affection for Gospel of this era. I love the simple purity of the songs.
A classic slice of joyous 50’s doo wop from Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers. I played it over and over all weekend both in the jukebox in my brain and on YouTube. Additionally, it felt like an appropriate song to post on April 1st.
From John Talabot to Gene Kelly! I would like to think that is a pretty neat summary of the journey this blog has taken me on and of the variable music that grabs my attention (however fleetingly in some cases).
My mother was watching a program yesterday about Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire which focused on their choreography and I found myself, much to my surprise, transfixed by this. Both the music and his dancing. I am not a big fan of musicals by any stretch of the imagination but this just filled me with joy. What talent those guys had!
It is fitting in one regard I suppose as I reflect on 2012 and what it meant to me. One thing about moving to Dublin is that I have had to deal with a lot more precipitation! I should learn to cope with it like Gene!
Let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place. Come on with the rain I’ve a smile on my face. I’ll walk down the lane with a happy refrain. Just singing, singing in the rain…
Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – Peace in the valley
I don’t think I have yet encountered a voice that’s more pure than Sam Cooke’s. This is never more true than in the early Gospel music he recorded with The Soul Stirrers. The music is simple and his voice is unshackled and full of fervour. The result is simply startling.
I was somewhat surprised that I hadn’t posted Ella Fitzgerald yet so this is as good a time as any to right that wrong. Her voice is one of the all time classics.
The reason I choose this Gershwin classic is that it was sung at the wedding I was at a few weeks ago in Oxford and I actually found myself to be a little moved by it. For someone as stoic as me that is really saying something!
The horns here are so smooth and languid, the way they complement Ella’s voice is a real treat. I find the combination to be totally irresistible.
Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – Jesus gave me water
There is something about gospel music from this era that I find utterly compelling. I think it is the purity of the vocal, which is particulalry exemplified here by the wonderful Sam Cooke who used the Soul Stirrers as a springboard to mainstream success before tragically passing away before his time.
On another note, what a performance by Mo Farrah tonight! He seems like such a decent bloke too, I was delighted for him.