Como Now
Posted in Contemporary,Field Recording,Gospel on 10.20.08

Daptone Records (home of the wonderful Sharon Jones, among others) head went down to Panola County, Mississippi to record local gospel singers – this record is a sampler of sorts – showcasing what he recorded and introducing some of the acts who will be releasing albums on their own later. The trip is documented here through a series of videos about each artist.

The quality over all is excellent – the arrangements are fresh and exciting and there is just no doubt the sheer power of these voices. These are my two favorites – Como Mamas ft. Mary Moore, a family group that sing with an urgency that’s not often heard in modern gospel music. M other favorite track is from the eldest members, husband and wife duo Brother and Sister Walker, on this disc and they only ones who were present during one of Lomax’s trips through their county, a trip that found Fred McDowell among others.

Como Mamas ft. Mary Moore – Trouble In My Way (2006)
Brother and Sister Walker – Help Me To Carry On (2006)

Where We’ll Never Grow Old
Posted in Contemporary,Country,Gospel on 10.11.08

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Charlie Louvin released a new gospel album, revisited some of his classic gospel songs from his Louvin Brothers days as well as some new takes on classic standards. Overall I find the disc rather middling – it lacks the punch of last years self-titled disc that brought him back into the music. Most of the problems lie in the production that’s overly sweet for Louvin’s voice these days – but I do find his new take on “There is a Higher Power,” the only song on this disc that makes appropriate use of the gospel choir that is featured on all the tracks.

Charlie Louvin – There Is A Higher Power (2008)
Charlie Louvin – Where We’ll Never Grow Old (2008)

Gonna Beat It Back To Memphis
Posted in 1930s,Piano Blues on 10.07.08

Document’s recordings of Monkey Joe have always been the one disc I’ve always put back on the shelf/remove from my Amazon cart, maybe it’s the nick name that always rubbed me wrong – but it is a shame that I didn’t around to listening to him until last month.

Jesse Coleman recorded his first track in 1935 – but continued to play in blues clubs until at least the 1970s. Working as both a session player – he is most known for his aggressive piano playing style and his almost welping singing style. Both of these features are present on the first track a wonderfully original blues number, “Gonna Beat It Back To Memphis” an angry blues letter to world and the blues – he’s not taking the blues lying down on this one. The wonderful Walter Vincson plays guitar on this track – but he’s all but obscured by Coleman’s piano being way too high in the mix. Th e track is credited to Monkey Joe and his Music Grinders – a group consisting of Honey’s favorite Blind Joe Davis on piano and Willie Bee James on guitar -Coleman “only” sings on this side, I Was Laying ‘Em Down, but Davis’ style compliments the track a lot better and allows for the band to really carry the track which is always a pleasure to hear in pre-war era that was dominated by solo performances.

Jesse “Monkey Joe” Coleman – Gonna Beat It Back To Memphis (1935)
Monkey Joe and his Music Grinders – I Was Laying ‘Em Down (1939)

Ain’t It Sad?
Posted in Honey,Piedmont Blues,Post-War on 10.06.08

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Today’s songs are from Carolina Slim a lesser known North Carolina blues player – great voice and a prime example of the Piedmont blues as it matured in the post-war era. Carolina Slim in particular borrows a lot from post-war Texas blues musicians. Both tracks here, Ain’t it Sad and Money Blues, show Slim at a stylistic crossroad – and one that would be extremely interesting to follow if his life wasn’t cut short at the young age of 30.

Carolina Slim – Ain’t It Sad (1951)
Carolina Slim – Money blues (1952)