Friday, April 30, 2010

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

I knew this was going to be a slow blog and it's not because of lack of content, more lack of time in my life.

Right now I'm very busy but for a great reason: I'm at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every day shooting photos for WWOZ. And while I'm shooting a lot of different things, there's a pretty fantastic gospel tent right by the entrance and I've been dropping in pretty often.

See the reason I don't really go after any modern gospel is that SOOO much of it has such cheesy production. Drum machines all over, everything way too smooth. I can't stand it, and a lot of the groups here sound that way on record too. But live? Whoooooooa man

Today right after I saw Allen Toussaint I caught one of the best shows I've seen at Jazz Fest. The Selvy's from Arkansas made up for Aretha Franklin's cancellation that day with the force of 5 Arethas.... with coordinated outfits AND dance moves, and really a whole lot of sweetness. The only band I've seen pack the tent like they did were the Blind Boys of Alabama, but I doubt most people knew who the Selvy's were before stepping foot in there. I could hardly take pictures because everybody was dancing.

To give you an idea (this is not jazzfest)

While there were plenty of other groups that impressed, the next best were Voices of Distinction, a foursome of ladies out of Baton Rouge

Honestly, their myspace sounds horrible and they're not putting nearly as much soul into it as their live show. But MAN, that live show.

What do you get out of this? It's not like I expect to see postings for the next Voices of Distinction tour. I have no idea, I guess it's just good to remind that the genre is still fun for all the same reasons when you see it live. I thought it was worth mentioning and I guess I'll post more as I see fit

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gloria Spencer - For Once In My Life

Gloria needs to find some better representation. I mean yeah, she's humongous. But believe it or not, this is actually a great album. It's upbeat, she's got great enthusiasm and great songs underneath them.... but the record doesn't really talk about that or her relationship with god or anything. It mostly reassures you that she is one HEAVY girl. And if you're into that sort of sideshow side of it, her rendition of "I'll Fly Away" will do the trick, but all that aside this is seriously a very good and well-produced gospel album.

Give her a listen

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Marion Gaines Singers - This Too Is Gospel

If the title suggests to you that this is something way-out I'm afraid you're going to be a little disappointed. Most of this is fully recognizable gospel. But it must be FUNK too, because there's a wah-wah pedal sometimes. And you know what, those funk leanings are actually pretty cool. In fact, there's a lot of variety on here, and some of it is very well executed, particularly on the first half of the album.

For instance, there's this piano jammer, If You Need A Friend

and the proud You Can't Stop Me Now

Those are my two favorite cuts. Really, none of this is out of keeping with what I've heard on the Gospel Truth label, but I LIKE that stuff.

So here's where you go

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hightower Bros. Singers - Finally Made It In \ Oh Lord Save Me

Yes, this is how I want to kickoff a new blog. Barbershop rhythms and screamin' females (that is female, right?) from 1960. From what I can tell this is the only 45 from the Hightower Brothers singers, though the Hightower Brothers themselves were decently prolific.

Finally Made It In

Oh Lord Save Me

I have noticed that there's an out of print "best of Hightower Brothers" CD with these two songs right at the front. Anybody know if it's the same version