Friday, May 06, 2005

Now I don't have no doubts

“Jesus Is A Rock” is a 1953 recording taken from the Best of King Gospel collection on Ace records, released a year or so ago. It’s a FUCKING AMAZING compilation of rare quartet group sides from the late 40s and early ‘50s and it’s got like, the 4 Internes, the Spirit of Memphis Quartet, the Nightingales and the Swan Silvertones from back when they went by the name Swan’s Silvertone Singers, which as I understand it was a more explicit connection to the Knoxville Tennessee bakery that sponsored the radio show they used to sing on when they got their start. The liners for this collection are fabulous, and written by former ‘60s garage band member, Surrealist poet, small press editor, rhythm and blues DJ and gospel music authority Opal Louis Nations, -- yes that is his real name. I think that he and Bruce Conner must be the two raddest men alive.

I need to find more music by this group if any exists; this sort of stomping tune that elevates from dirgey lament to wailing anthem is something I can never get enough of! This song is just totally perfect.

As I type this I am listening to Gang of Four live on KEXP. They sound pretty good, basically like the old but competent cover band that any punk rock reunion act (sole exceptions being Mission of Burma and Suicide, who never really broke up anyway) inevitably becomes, and it reminds me of a perfect scene from last night. Hah. My friend Kevin Cole (KEXP station manager/ DJ) sounds so excited -- never heard him sound so much like a fanboy! That alone is awesome. I wish Kevin would play that Ex song about the Gang of Four now that they're done instead of this Franz Ferdinand song that sounds like a Volkswagen/ iPod commercial, but I understand them playing it after the Gang of 4 took a dig at them...

Anyway, so the thing is that I was out for dinner with my pal Chaya last night and we dropped by Magic Gardens for twenty minutes to see how they were coping with Wednesday nights' (small) fire, and, you know, also, to see some naked women strip to awesome music. My friend "Nico" was dancing to Go4 tribute band the Rapture and I mentioned that Gang of Four was just then playing a mile or so away, and she said she'd never heard them.

An awful lot of wind-up for a bad punch line, but any friend of mine will tell you I have no sense of humor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must check out the pewburner series of gospel, sort of a bootleg series. The ones I've got are vocal quartets of the 50s and 60s. It's good!

11:06 AM  
Blogger Mike McGonigal said...

Opal Nations did the pewburner series! I know about them but am tooooo broke for them!

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have cherished cassettes of opal nations shows i made when going to school in silcon valley in the mid-eighties, the show was "doo wop delights". various gospel, doo wop and r&b artists examined in minute, thrilling detail.

8:20 PM  

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