Music is human. And here, King of Bongo will show you the best music available on the internet. What you will find: a vibrant source of sounds and vibes, grooves and noise, some you will never have heard before. Are you ready to go on the journey?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Soaring Gospel Voices

Today King of Bongo asks you if you need healin'? I SAID, "DO YOU NEED HEALIN'?"

Well, if you're hurting, then KoB has just the thing for you: 2 fine mid-20th century gospel tunes, that'll lift your heart and raise your spirit.

Originally termed 'race records', music made for the Black American market gained a new name, 'rhythm & blues', from journalist Jerry Wexler in 1949. Even so, before then Gospel had been derived from 19th century sprirtual music, itself the descendant of Black music from the days of slavery. The two streams, Blues & Gospel, developed separately (although sung by the same people; Blues on Saturday night, and Gospel on Sunday morning) until the late '50s, when they melded together in one crazy relationship called soul....

Today's selections come from before the birth of soul, and though recorded before 1955, both retain a sparkling energy and power. These people had doors shut in their faces and endured years of toil and pain, yet musically they were free and joyous. Their memory deserves to be better honoured.

'Sister' Wynona Carr Wynona Carr was signed to Specialty Records in 1949, and dubbed 'Sister' in a bid to capitalise on the success of Sister Rosetta Thorpe. Never reaching the real heights of success, Wynona had to endure dominating parents, dubious marketing ploys, name changes ('Kitty Carr') and bouts of depression in her showbiz career. Beautiful, talented, and a gifted songwriter, she just didn't get the breaks. 'Each Day', where she sings of getting a little nearer to the Lord as time goes by, is a poignant reminder of her fate. She died almost forgotten in 1976.

You can buy Wynona Carr's Dragnet For Jesus from Amazon.

Rev. Anderson Johnson A happier tale than Wynona's: sharecropper's son Anderson Johnson first heard the Lord's voice before 1920, and in 1931 became a street preacher at the tender age of 16. Multi-talented and a born troublemaker, Johnson appended 'Reverend' to his name, and recorded a few songs guaranteed to stir up the outwardly strait-laced congregations ("I know you don't like my song / I spoke my sober mind / I won't take back a work I said"). Over the years a hidden artistic talent emerged, and he made a good living painting 'naive' portraits - and although partially paralyzed in 1985 he lived on to a ripe old age until 1998.

King of Bongo's selection is 'God Don't Like It', where Johnson takes moonshine-drinkers, short-skirted women and horny priests to task - The Rev Johnson sure knew how to make friends...

You can buy a 25-track Gospel compilation featuring 'God Don't Like It' and many more Re. Anderson Johnson tracks from Roots and Rhythm

Wynona Carr: Each Day (1949) [mp3 | 2:49 mins | 192 kbps | 3.89 MB]
Rev. Anderson Johnson: God Don't Like It (1953) [mp3 | 2:35 mins | 192 kbps | 3.55 MB]
File under: Sing to the Lord

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