Sunday, June 22, 2008

Como Now: The Voices of Panola County, MS

Daptone Records have let me know about a very exciting new project due out later this year:

Deep in the heart of Panola County, Mississippi lies Como, a small rural town where children and grown folks alike have been living and breathing gospel for as long as they can remember. In the summer of 2006, Daptone Records placed a small ad in local papers and on the radio inviting singers to come down to Mt. Mariah Church to record their songs. The result is COMO NOW, a stirring collection of traditional and original a cappella gospel from the voices of Panola County’s own families. It may seem like a leap for Daptone Records to be releasing an album of a cappella gospel music. Daptone has earned a reputation for creating and proliferating the purest of today’s soul and funk music. Why gospel? And why without any instrumentation? If you put aside the analytical categories of the music critic for a moment, and just listen to the record, the answer becomes simple and clear: this is soulful music.
“When Michael Reilly came to me with his first recordings of the Como Mamas, I remember hearing it and being blown away. Though I’ve been into soul music for a very long time, it has only been in the past few years that I really got deeper into gospel music…and the line from soul to gospel eventually became much clearer to me. Less of an academic lineage than a visceral feeling that I started to get from listening to old records by the Soul Stirrers and the Highway Q.C.’s. Dorothy Love Coates, the Mighty Pilgrim Travelers, The Blind Boys, The Violinaires. They were the same sounds, the same feeling, as I got listening to James Brown, Tina Turner, Lee Fields when they were really wailing. Otis Redding when he was really pleading. Al Green when he was really moaning. Sounds that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The recordings Michael played me gave me the same feeling.”
- Gabriel Roth
The 16 songs on this record feature performances by every one of the singers that came down to Mt. Mariah Church on July 22nd, 2006. Though their music is steeped in tradition, it should not be filed away as some sort of academic field recording. It was not made for the archives of the Library of Congress, nor for the benefit of musicologists and anthropologists. COMO NOW is a contemporary recording of contemporary people. From the slow stirring duets of Brother Raymond and Sister Joella Walker to the bouncing harmonies of the Jones Sisters, every song on this record is meant for you, their contemporary, to hear how the people of Como, Mississippi sing – right now.
Read more about the artists featured on the CD here.

No comments:

Post a Comment