Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What about you

Paul Owens, whose exquisite leads have graced many of the top postwar gospel quartets (among them the Nightingales and Dixie Hummingbirds), starts this one off, then passes it on to Louis Johnson who shouts it on out to a typically smooth 
and harmonious Swans’ conclusion. 

What About You – The Swan Silvertones – 1962

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Father and Son

Rebert H. Harris, the original lead singer for the Soul Stirrers, was so influential you can find his imprint on the vocal styles of many of the golden era gospel quartets’ lead singers: Kylo Turner and Keith Barber of the Pilgrim Travelers; the Sensational Nightingales’ Rev. Julius Cheeks; and perhaps the greatest of them all, Archie Brownlee, who sang lead with the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi until his too-early death in 1959. When Harris left the Soul Stirrers in 1950, Sam Cooke was hired as his replacement; later, when Sam went pop, Johnnie Taylor was drafted in from the Highway QCs. The list goes on and on.

Here are two versions of “In That Awful Hour,” first with R. H. Harris and Paul Foster leading the Soul Stirrers; next up are the Blind Boys and Archie Brownlee.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ain’t it funny

Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” is such a great song, one of his first to hit (for Jimmy Elledge) after years of struggle. This song has been done so well by so many singers over the years; several are featured in the playlist below. And as good as they all are, I suppose when it comes down to it, there is really only Ray Price’s 1965 album cut. . . .

Friday, February 17, 2012

It’s good to touch the green, green grass
of home

The album title says a lot about where the country music industry, and the country, were at in 1966. Charley Pride’s take on this classic song, however, speaks for itself.

Green, Green Grass Of Home – Country Charley Pride – 1966

Thursday, February 16, 2012

There stands the glass

Here’s Patty Loveless’s très fine on-the-money cover of Webb Pierce’s 1953
chart topper.

There Stands The Glass – Patty Loveless – 2008

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Aloha ‘Oe

Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au
Until we meet again

Crown Princess (later Queen) Lili‘uokalani, wrote “Aloha ‘Oe,” about 1877, around the time the portrait below was taken. Sixteen years later, the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was overthrown in a coup d’état led primarily by American economic interests, and Queen Lili‘uokalani was placed under house arrest and confined to ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, where she finished transcribing “Aloha ‘Oe.” 

Johnny Bellar is a composer and Nashville session musician who excels on Dobro, string bass, and lap steel guitars.

Aloha Oe – Johnny Bellar – 2000

For more on “Aloha ‘Oe,” Lili‘uokalani, and the fall of the Hawaiian kingdom, follow this link.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

I’ll overcome someday

Recorded live in Chicago’s Maxwell Street market in 1964 as part of the soundtrack to Mike Shea’s film And This Is Free.

I Shall Overcome – Fannie Brewer – 1964

Image from And This Is Free. Available on DVD here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Goodbye baby

Good Bye – Elmore James & His “Broom Dusters” – 1955

Photo: Elmore James and companion by Jacques Demetre, Chicago, c.1959. From Soul Bag No. 94, 
May/June 1983.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

More Staples?

Not quite. But here’s Aretha Franklin and Joe South giving it their Staples best on the intro, which was edited out of the released single and LP versions. A fabulous record, however you hear it.

Aretha Franklin • Chain Of Fools
(unedited version) • 1967

Photo: Aretha Franklin by Art Kane, for Esquire magazine, 1967.