Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What I've been listening to…

Mourning the late James Brown - the greatest performer I've ever seen, up (close and sweaty at a club in Takapuna in 1979) by keeping Cold Sweat (the seven and a half minute version), There Was A Time, I Can't Stand Myself and Prisoner of Love etc. on permanent rotation.

The Golden Eagles Gospel Singers (1937-1940) Complete Recordings (Eden ELE 4-200 - vinyl). A favourite of mine and an inspiration for the Amazing Grace Brothers - I haven't listened to it for years, but I rediscovered my fondness for their versions of He's My Rock (definitive), The Prodigal Son, When Death Comes Creeping In Your Room (= Hush) and A Warrior on the Battlefield. The group remains obscure, though we know one of the singers was Thelma Byrd and blues artist Hammie Nixon adds harmonica on four tracks. 5 women and 4 men appear in the photo, and there is some guitar on the first 6 tracks. If you can use the term 'primitive' without it sounding pejorative, this is primitive but far from unskilled - raw and casually fervent with a lovely lead and prominent bass line.
(You can find the Golden Eagles on Document Records 5377: - and listen to or download from the Emusic site -

Sun Gospel (BCD 16387 AH) - various artists, some white some black. A few years ago Len at Hounddog's Bop Shop (Victoria St Melbourne) insisted this was a mandatory purchase, and while not all of it's to my taste, there are some lovely items: the Southern Jubilee Singers' Forgive Me Lord, an unknown male quartet singing Working On A Building and Hank Williams' House of Gold sung gorgeously by some 'unknown chicks'. And of course a track from the Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale (SPOOKY1) - Stephen Taberner's crew wryly shrug and grunt through a shedful of tunes, some original, some post-modern tips of the hard hat to pop classics like Satisfaction (riveting), some Georgian (the beautiful Shen Har Venahi), Kasey Chambers, the Beatles, the Front Lawn and more. Exceedingly droll and enjoyable.

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