Thursday, April 3, 2003
Gotta Serve Somebody--The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan
When Bob Dylan released his first genuinely religious disc in 1979, his hippie audience blanched in horror. Of course Bobby had been alluding to the Lord, Bible and other matters spiritual as far back (at least) as "Wicked Messenger" in 1967, but a disc crammed top to bottom with admonitions and love of Christ was a very heavy dose for the followers of Bohemian #1.
The songs themselves were second fiddle to the spectacle of counter-culture icon turned evangelical--and laughed off as novelty at the time: a "phase". Standing as covered material by "legitimate" gospel artist in Gotta Serve Somebody--The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan, these tunes live again.
Because just about anyone walking down any street anywhere in the world is technically a more listenable singer than Dylan (but "greater"?), the material does finally cross into the realm of standard spirituals. But this disc comes with its own baggage--recorded in this day and age it''s digitally-scrubbed and not likely to get anyone speaking in tongues or rolling in aisles--it''s Starbucks checkout gospel if it''s anything.
Which doesn''t mean that some of the performancers aren''t revelatory. Shirley Caesar could recite the phone book and draw chills, ditto for Aaron Neville. And Dottie Peoples'' version of "I Believe In You" reveals that both the BeeGees'' "Words" and the standard "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" provide the song''s basic melody. Song cops, I am so shocked--would JC approve?
3 Generations Walking
3 Generations Walking
Spiritual Life Music
Spanning three musical eras, the appropriately titled 3 Generations Walking creates sophisticated, unique music, fusing jazz, house, reggae and dub.
Comprised of a unique cast of characters, each band member adds their own rhythmic parallels and perspectives. Formulated by Belizean-born and Brooklyn-based DJ Michael Kenneth Lopez, and Pittsburgh guitarist/Audio Engineer Herman "Soy Sos" Pearl, the band was devised with the intent to merge together various generational musical backgrounds, creating a lasting sound that progressively pushes the boundaries of dance music.
This intimate collaboration includes some of the most influential musicians of Pittsburgh and New York City''s music scene. Formulating the rhythmic foundation of 3 Generations Walking is Pittsburgh based piano player Howard Alexander III, bassist John Hall, percussionist George Jones and New York City''s well-known drummer Philip Gillespie (a cousin and godson to the late, great Dizzy Gillespie).
Offering a profoundly inspirational, mystical essence, the band also consists of an incredible line-up of vocalists such as Chilean-born, NYC-based jazz singer Claudia Acuna, UK-born Pittsburgh-based Jamaican vocalist Zapology, singer/songwriter Christiane D born in France and also now based in Pittsburgh, and Italian-born NYC based singer Mr. Gary French.
Setting a beautiful precedence for the forth-coming display of organic atmospherics, the album opens with the seductive tribal chants of Christiane D on the somewhat subdued house track "Glory". With a distinctive dance oriented flavor, "Skin" again features the sultries of Christiane D and the positively infectious funk of Soy Sos on the guitar. My favorite track,"Believe", is firmly rooted in the reggae tradition with vocalist Zapology and deep-dub bass beats.
Striving to maintain some sort of truth and sonic stability, 3 Generations Walking is making groundbreaking music that will hopefully leave a lasting impression on many future generations to come.