Friday, August 06, 2004

More on Mary Norton
glisten: Acap' CD 9

17: Rev J.A. Myers - "When Malindy Sings"

Adam - I'm not sure I understand what's going on in this one. Was this a sermon broadcast via Ham Radio? An early attempt to streamline the spoken word genre?

Spencer - Myers sounds like a heaven-bent Dr. Suess here. I don't know what he's talking about but that little cackle & jump in his voice makes him sound a little looney toons. This track is just baffling.

Kevin - The connection between the African-American oratory and musical traditions has always been pretty strong. Everyone should read what Cornel West has to say about this.

The good Reverend James Andrew Myers was a tenor in the early twentieth century iteration of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Here's some liner note info from the Fisk Singers Document series:

"The groups that toured under the name of Fisk Jubilee singers from 1916 to 1927 were led by Mr. and Mrs. James A. Myers. James was the group's director and sang first tenor. He was a native Kentuckian of striking appearance, captain of the Fisk football team and a great singer. His declamations of Paul Laurence Dunbar poems were high points of the concerts of the Fisk singers under James Work II's direction from 1901-1916. Indeed his presence was so strong that when he graduated and became a minister, the university persuaded him that his best avenue for serving the race was a return to the rigorous demands of fund raising tours on behalf of Fisk.

(T)he Fisk singers made a series of tours in Europe in the '20's, during which they performed for several heads of state, including, oddly enough, Mussolini. James Myers suffered a heart attack on tour in Europe in 1927 from which he never fully recovered. He died in 1928."

-Duck Baker

Buy "Voices of Black America" from Naxos Audiobooks
Buy "Fisk University Jubilee Singers, Vol. 1 1909-1911" from Amazon.
I can recommend the second with greater vigor. Fascinating, beautiful and masterful vocal work.
Study some commentary on the meaning and background of "Malindy".
Read a copy of "When Malindy Sings" in its original thick vernacular via the Paul Laurence Dunbar Website at the University of Dayton, Ohio. Plenty of soundfile DL's if you'd like to hear more.
Explore a collection of Dunbar's work online.
Visit the Dunbar House in Ohio.


18: We Might Be Giants Too! - "Dead"

Spencer - How can you convincingly sing doo-wop harmonies when your tongue is stuck in your cheek???

Kevin - Doesn't really add anything to the original except a load of kitsch.

Adam - Many years ago, I was a rabid They Might Be Giants fan with no musical talent. So when the We Might Be Giants Too project came about, I signed up, knowing full well I had no idea what I was doing. So one night my step dad and I sat down in his little recording studio and made a version of Weep Day that made the cassette version of the compilation, though not the CD version. For my money though, the best a capella TMBG cover is the Bobs' Particle Man.

I've come back as a bag of groceries accidentally taken off the shelf before the date stamped on myself. It's really a pain in the ass. Or bag, rather.

Buy the TMBG original version from "Flood" direct from the Johns.
The first We Might Be Giants, Too! tribute album was released in short supply and is not available anywhere that I can find. Go a Soulseekin'.
Visit "Giant Kid", the new TMBG site devoted to their children's music. Great design, as always.
Join the TMBG street team.
I did. I'm such a dork.



File under "about frikkin' time": Jill Scott's second studio album is on the way. Click on the link to preview a few tracks.
Stereogum's been on a roll lately, especially when it comes to interesting downloadable music. There's new Bjork, Luna, the Killers, James Vanderslice... and which of you hipsters can afford to be without a Rilo Kiley cover of "Simply Irresistable"?
Collect 'em all!
Speaking of Bjork, fans should drop by Opacodex's clubhouse which is like Bjork central these days. It's violently happy!
"The promise of America is one immigration policy for all who seek to enter our shores, whether they come from mutha fuckin Mexico, mutha fuckin Haiti or bitch ass Canada, there must be one set of mutha fuckin rules for everybody."

Martin Van Buren's coverage of the Democratic Convention is just splendid.
This comics page looks good for days of exploration.