The Spiritualaires of Hurtsboro, Alabama Singing Songs of Praise

Radio has always been the step between books and TV, before, that is, TV took over both the imagining and the sound. This CD is a program of spirituals from one of the last a cappella gospel quartets from the ’50s recorded from radio broadcasts and some studio sessions. What sets this CD apart from the more modern recordings of such groups is the lack of high tech production values and the inclusion of a couple of tracks where the group and announcers welcome the audience and advertise their sponsors. Such "down-home” vibes contribute to a warm, welcoming ambience that sets off a stellar gospel set that reaches deep into a tradition that formed much of the music we listen to today. The inclusion of a blues-based guitar in this context also throws some surprising light onto the common home of two previously exclusive genres. A solid, plain solo on "I’ve Got Somewhere to Lay My Head” spells out the connection that instrumental soloing had with vocal expression. For a more modern connection check out Cobain’s solos on any Nirvana track — he’s basically copying the vocal line. The blues and gospel have often been uncomfortable with each other but on this recording have reconciled their differences and come together in praise.

(Case Quarter/Aum Fidelity, www.aumfidelity.com/casequarter.html) (Case Quarter)