Friday, September 29, 2006

The Real Bahamas

An LP on the Nonesuch label from 1965. Field recordings made by Peter K. Siegel and Jody Stecher. Some fine spirituals and folk oriented gospel by the Pindar Family, Same Greene, Frederick McQueen etc. I have chosen tracks featuring Joseph Spence, the renowned Bahamian guitarist who I first heard when Ry Cooder played some of his favourite records on a radio show back in the 70's.

Here's what Wikipedia says about him-

"Joseph Spence (born August, 1910 in Andros, Bahamas - died March 18, 1984 in Nassau, Bahamas) was a Bahamanian guitarist, singer and blues musician. He is well known for his vocalizations and humming while performing on guitar. Several modern folk, blues and jazz musicians, including Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Woody Mann and John Renbourn were influenced by and have recorded variations of his arrangements of gospel and Bahamanian pop tunes. The earliest recordings of Joseph Spence were field recordings by folk musicologists such as Sam Charters. Nearly all of the recorded songs are in a Drop D tuning, where the sixth string is tuned to a low D rather than E, so that the guitar sounds, from sixth to first D A D G B E. The power of his playing derives from moving bass lines and interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasizes with foot tapping. To this mix he adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound. He has been called the folk guitarist's Thelonious Monk."

Pindar Family & Joseph Spence - We Will Understand It Better By & By

Joseph Spence - Don't Take Everybody To Be Your Friend

Joseph & Louise Spence - Won't That Be A Happy Time

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1 comment:

spice-the-cat said...

I alwayls liked Joseph Spence's version of the song "I Bid You Goodnight" and which is a great example of how a song which was originally written as a hymn in the Victorian era can travel around the world and end up becoming a folk song. If you get chance check out the versions recorded by The Incredible String Band, Waterson Carthy and last, but certainly not least, The Grateful Dead.