Saturday, December 11, 2004

Blessed are ...

Download: LUTHER MAGBY "Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit"

This song's been anthologized quite a bit (sonically the best version is on Dust To Digital's sublime Goodbye Babylon box), but I'm sure I have friends who've never heard it, so here 'tis. This will appeal to fans of Wash Phillips, Rev. Utah Smith, Louis Overstreet, et al. The title refers to a bit of scripture from Matthew, verse 3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Eugene Chadbourne writes in AMG that "in 2002, (Magby) was still maintaining a busy performing schedule, including gospel shows at a variety of state fairs," and I want to hop a Greyhound to see him tomorrow, if I can only figure where this is... I only know of two sides of a 78 recorded in the '20s, and would like to hear just a tad more, especially if he still accompanies himself on the harmonium!

I love how the instrumental coda sounds like somebody tap-dancing along to a carousel pump organ. That part always cheers me right up.