Tomorrow Is For Sleeping: Why Blues? Why Gospel? Why Now?

28 12 2011

As the band’s reigning champion of record collecting, Billy has this to say on the subject…

This year was a fine year in music. I have an unhealthily interest in Tyler the Creator, Iceage, Odd Future (that’s not quite an endorsement, fuck holes!) and with less guilt, Tom Waits’ “Bad As Me”, M83‘s full length, Dum Dum Girls’ “Only in Dreams”, Washed Out, 6 songs off the latest Wilco, and two great one-man acts – Bill Callaghan’s latest might be my candidate for best lyrics (sorry OFWGKTA) And Austin singer-songwriter ((sounder))‘s EP all struck a chord.

Unfortunately, none of these records match the excitement that last year’s LCD Soundsystem “This Is Happening” or Kanye’s “Dark Twisted Beautiful Death Fantasy” sparked in me last year.  The closest candidates would be tUnE-yArDslatest, the seriously underrated Strokes summer album, SF’s Weekend, JCBUS van favorite JD McPherson‘s “Signs and Signifiers”, and this new Black Keys which I’m not sure what to do with other than like.  There’s also some nice easy listening like Feist, Florence & the Machine, and perhaps there’s been a Judy Collins reissue, if that’s your thing.

But the best records may have been from the crates for me. With money and uncertainty constantly at hand for the Western World, I have moved just left of the Soul crates this fall and found solace in the slim pickings of the blues and Gospel bins.

Here’s my top five after a week of digging through DC’s record bins and church basements while on a directing gig here in our nation’s Capitol.

1. Bye and Bye – The Davis Sisters

A haunting and sublime plea with the stark accompaniment of organ and piano only. I sprung this record on a very intoxicated version of the band last night, and to my amusement they were as inspired as me.

2. Folk Singer LP- Muddy Waters

Cut during the first lull in Muddy’s great career, this folky record was a departure from his taut electric blues but features the first Chess session by Buddy Guy and ranks among Muddy’s most emotional work.

3. Jonah – Mighty Clouds of Joy

The MP3 of this does not do it justice. The guitars and bass are awesome albeit a bit wild. This sounds like The Impressions returning to the church.

4. Blood of Jesus – The Sensational Nightingales

If you’ve been listing to a lot of horror-core rap, some of these more macabre gospel lyrics might suit you. But it’s really the organ player the Nightingales employ and the strained testament of their voices that get me most.

5. I’m in the Mood – John Lee Hooker

What’s sexier than a double tracked reverb-laden baritone and a single mic’d foot stomp?

In these hard and uncertain times nothing rings more true than honest declarations of unhappiness and other earthly pleas for hope and help.

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