Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


From the funkiest of the funky, J. R. Fulbright’s Elko label, here’s Phillip Walker’s first record, the steamy 1959 instrumental, “Louisiana Walk.”

Phillip Walker Band • Louisiana Walk • 1959

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gotta moan sometimes

I can still remember the day Paul Johnson played this early Swan Silvertones record for me. I could not even believe what I was hearing . . . this was way beyond what gospel quartet singing I’d heard up to that point, groups like the Sam Cooke edition of the Soul Stirrers and the Dixie Hummingbirds, even the ’60s Vee-Jay recordings of the Swans. But this! That slammin’ rhythm with Claude Jeter and the Swans all over it as rubber-voiced Rev. Robert Crenshaw breaks in and wrestles it to the ground. I read years later that Crenshaw was asked to leave the group because of his tendency to take over territories claimed and unclaimed. . . .

(Claude Jeter, Rev. Robert Crenshaw, John Manson (tenors); Paul Owens, John Myles (baritones); Henry Bossard (bass); unknown drums.)

Trouble In My Way – The Swan Silvertone Singers – 1953

Photo: The Swan Silvertones in 1965. Top row, left to right: Louis Johnson, William Connor, Paul Owens. Bottom row, left to right: Linwood Hargrove, Claude Jeter, John Myles. From The Gospel Sound by Tony Heilbut, Simon and Schuster, 1971.

Monday, March 12, 2012


 Lani McIntire & His Orchestra • Hame Pila • 1937
“Vocal chorus by Lani, George and Bob”

Thursday, March 08, 2012


This Holy Week saeta, recorded on the streets of Seville in 1950, was heard by Miles Davis and his arranger Gil Evans on the Spain volume of The Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music and adapted by them while they were working on Miles’ 1960 album Sketches of Spain.

“The saete, in flamencan music, is ‘the arrow song.’ One of the oldest religious types of music in Andalusia, it is usually sung without accompaniment during the Holy Week procession in Seville. It tells of the Passion of Christ and is usually addressed to the image of the crucified Christ that is carried in the march or to the Virgin Mary. As described by Gilbert Chase, ‘The singer, usually a woman, stands on a balcony overlooking the procession, grasping the iron railing firmly in both hands (the grip tightens as the emotion grows). The procession stops so that the image which is being addressed remains stationary while the saeta is being sung. A fanfare of trumpets gives the signal for the procession, to move on.’”  (from Nat Hentoff’s liner notes to Sketches of Spain.)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Earth has no sorrow. . .

Come Ye Disconsolate
The Dixie Hummingbirds – 1964
(Ira Tucker, lead)

JMB 1920–2012