Sunday, 30 June 2013

Back On Chapel Hill

Some kind person has uploaded the Ravens' long-missing On Chapel Hill to youtube, so  that once again it may sing out underhindered on this blog. You can find the earlier post where it's discussed, and more about the Ravens, here, along with a clip of their sublime version of There's No You, featuring the fathoms-deep voice of Jimmy Ricks.

But if you'll indulge me and stay that clickhappy digit for a mo, I want to add a bit more about On Chapel Hill Here.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

It Is No Secret - The Sensational Nightingales

This is a favourite gospel recording of mine which I only found on youtube recently. I first heard it on Viv Broughton's 1985 Black Gospel compilation, a tie-in with his book of that name, later reworked as Too Close to Heaven.

As far as I remember the tracklisting was arranged so that you heard the Sensational Nightingales' harrowing New Burying Ground, with Julius Cheeks sending the recording equipment into overload, then this performance which, in that context, felt like a kind of reward: you needed it, a note of hope, after what you'd just been through. I wrote of New Burying Ground in an earlier post:
It's difficult to tell whether the other group members' rough-hewn harmonies are actually supporting Cheeks or goading him into an ecstasy of torment.
But there is a kind of stately joy about It Is No Secret: although Cheeks does get a bit more frantic as it goes on he seems contained, consoled, by the other members of the group, and the choruses build in a very satisfying way, and you feel you've arrived somewhere by the end.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Tell the World (in case it might be listening)

Apologies to regular readers for this prolonged absence from my post - or posts; frankly I didn't think anyone would notice, but I'm happy to stand corrected. I have several writing projects on the go, which I hope to fill you in on soon, so no news on this site is - for me at least - likely to be a sign of good news. I have also taken to posting clips on a certain social networking website restricted to family and friends, but actually I'm not sure why - a lot of it is doo wop which would be better suited to be shared with the world, or that portion of the world which cares about that sort of thing, here.

I don't have the time to talk about them at length but here are two favourite doo wops which I don't think I've posted before. One is a raw and naive recording by the recently depleted Dells, my introduction to them on a double album I've written about before, and the other is an acapella recording by the Five Satins which is also available with vaguely South American backing. Give me the acapella every time.

Okay, cue the music. Keep the Five Satins as the dessert. And if you don't like this kind of thing, I wish you well as you click beyond my ken. I've just listened to the Dells again and it's rawer than I remember. But it sounds like people making music, or trying to, all in the one room, and it reminds me why I love doo wop, and why it's the cornerstone of this blog. If blogs can be said to have cornerstones. Do bats eat cats?