Pin It
Our critics' picks in new releases

Soundbite 

Our critics' picks in new releases

Unlimber your notions of what a gospel album should sound like. On their latest release, Diamond Jubilation, the venerable gospel quintet the Dixie Hummingbirds celebrate their 75th anniversary by rewriting the book on how to hook up with the Big Guy in song. In 1973, the Hummingbirds were one of the first black gospel groups to break into the mainstream when they recorded "Loves Me Like A Rock" with Paul Simon, then won a Grammy for covering the same song on an album of their own. The same album also featured Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children of America" with Wonder on keyboard.

The Birds have a different set of rockers on board this time, utilizing the services of The Band's Levon Helm on drums and Garth Hudson on keys and accordion. Dr John also contributes his night trippin' fonk to a couple of cuts. But it is The Band's influence that's felt the most. Thanks to Hudson's rollicking accordion, "God's Radar" is like having church, Zydeco style.

The group changes gears quickly with the next cut, "He Watches Out For You And Me," which has a more traditional vocal sound. Even though there's celestial soul in the vocals, the accompaniment is pure R&B.

"Someday" has the classic Hummingbird uptown gospel sound--smooth and sophisticated. But before you get too comfortable with the smooth, Ira Tucker--who has been a Bird since 1938 (when he was 13)--puts a healthy amount of rasp on top of the vocals to let you know you're dealing with the voice of experience. This is what a ministry of music is supposed to sound like.

The Birds always kept it simple--just those magnificent voices were all you heard when they began in 1928. Then, starting in the '50s, they were backed by guitarist Howard Caroll and a boom box. Even though there's a full band on this one, they stay out of the way, enhancing the music with their presence but never interfering with the main business at hand.

It sounds good to have the Lord on your side, and the Dixie Hummingbirds have never sounded better.

  • Our critics' picks in new releases

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in MUSIC: Soundbite

  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • More »

More by Grant Britt

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity

Comments

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation