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

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.

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

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.