Sunday, November 20, 2011


This seems to be Staples week around some of the music blogs I follow. Cussin’ and Carryin’ On has an interesting piece tracing the evolution of the Staple Singers from being primarily straight gospel singers to having a more all encompassing vision of the power of their music to effect change after Pop Staples heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. Then over at The Singing Bones, Ana B discusses the Staples’ first two Vee-Jay LPs, and offers a listen to their 1959 single “So Soon,” with a lead by Mavis Staples, “. . . whose voice qualifies as a force of nature. . . .”

I’ve also posted a few Staple Singers tunes here this past week (and previously), and today I’d like to add a couple more early favorites, the B-sides to their first two Vee-Jay singles. The first is probably my favorite Mavis lead, 1955’s “God’s Wonderful Love”—I haven’t any words to describe how powerful and moving her singing is on this stark side. Next up is the Roebuck-led “I Know I Got Religion,” with his high vocal and shimmering guitar anchored by the responsive “certainly, Lord”s of Mavis, Cleo, and Pervis. 

The Staple Singers • God’s Wonderful Love • 1955

The Staple Singers • I Know I Got Religion • 1956

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Buck Owens • Release Me • 1963

click on song title to play

Jay McDonald, pedal steel guitar; Buck Owens, guitar; Don Rich, fiddle; Jelly Sanders, guitar; Kenny Pierce, electric bass; Ken Presley, drums. Recorded in Hollywood, California, 14 Feb 1963.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lawrence Walker

Lawrence Walker is another of the Cajun accordion greats, a great player and a soulful singer, with a sense of sadness that permeates even his uptempo songs. He had a band with his brother Elton that recorded several sessions during the Depression, but seems to have hit his stride as a bandleader in the Fifties and Sixties with many great sides recorded for Khoury, La Louisianne, and Swallow. All the songs in the playlist below are originally from singles made for La Louisianne around 1961 and later reissued on the LP pictured. They feature Walker’s beautiful singing and playing, a fine band, and Dick Richard’s standout steel playing.

All but one of the songs here are available on The Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow SW6221, 2010), along with the best of his Swallow and Khoury recordings.
For more information on Lawrence Walker, see Ann Savoy’s book Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People, 
Volume 1, Bluebird Press, Inc., 1984.