June 19, 2020

SO FEW GENERATIONS REMOVED:

Bessie Jones: Get in Union review - 60 songs straight from the gut and heart: This remastered set of Jones's recordings with the Georgia Sea Island Singers richly celebrates a traditional vocalist of key historical importance (Jude Rogers, 19 Jun 2020, The Guardian)

A woman from a small farming community in the state of Georgia, Bessie Jones was one of the most important traditional singers of the mid-20th century. Her accordion-playing grandfather, Jet Sampson, was enslaved as a child before the American civil war. He lived to 105 and taught her the songs of his times, which Jones was so determined to share with future generations that she travelled 1,000 miles to ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax's New York flat in 1961 and told him to record her. [...]

The 60-track anthology includes a cappellas and spirituals with the group that Jones joined, the Georgia Sea Island Singers. All sing from the gut, clear and warm. Jones sings O Death straight-backed, speeding up, asking straightforwardly to be spared. Her version of folk standard John Henry, about an African-American steel driver who died after working too hard, is powerfully slow, drawing you into his last moments.

Posted by at June 19, 2020 7:53 AM

  

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