March 10, 2008

Life Is A Problem... But Where There Is Life There Is Hope

Life_Problem.jpgTime for a blast of old-time religious music coutesy of Life Is A Problem, a rousing compilation of rare gospel, sanctified blues and sacred steel recorded some time between the late 40's and early 60's.

Featured on this LP only release are an assortment of preachers and pious lay folk who know how to attack a tune and could quite easily have become "rock stars" in their day if they hadn't had such a disdain for the "devil's music". (One of the artists on the album, Reverend Lonnie Francis, even claimed to have been "offered a lot of money to play rock & roll". He consistently turned such offers down, however, and reveled in his ability to blow rock bands off the stage with his untouchable brand of sacred lap steel.)

On the show today, we featured three tracks from the LP. The first was "Seat in The Kingdom", a fairly straight ahead gospel number by The Crumb Brothers, an underage quartet who are notable for the astonishing vocal chops of their ten year old lead singer, "Sugar". This was followed by a 1956 anti-rock sermon by Elder Charles Beck which probably would have out-rocked almost anything else recorded at that time. The third track is something of an enigma; an abstract slide-guitar reworking of Amazing Grace by an unknown Oakland musician. It only came to light when it was saved from a fire by a local record collector who perished rescuing his kittens and the rest of that collection.

The Crumb Brothers - Seat In The Kingdom
Elder Charles Beck - Rock N Roll Sermon (Radio Edit)
Oakland's Famous One Man Band - Amazing Grace

The album that all of these tracks come from came out last year on Mississippi Records. The release though was small and most of it was snapped up fairly quickly, so you might have to dig to find a copy. Mine, which I picked up about a month ago, came from German distributor, Music Berlin, who might hopefully still have a few tucked away.

FOOTNOTE: If you haven't checked in on the radio version of Rummage, you're running out of time to do so. In the next month or so, a restructure of the drive time band on 2SER will lead to the canning of the segment. I don't have a definitive date for its demise as yet, but I will keep you posted on any developments. (If you don't already know, it's currently broadcast and streamed online between 4pm & 5pm on Monday afternoons, Aussie Eastern Standard Time.)

Posted by Warren at March 10, 2008 11:24 PM | Christian