As good as I can be burrowing in and finding obscure music in the worlds of Rock, electro, Metal and Avant Garde, the two areas of music I dig that I have trouble finding a foot in the door with is the more obscure, rootsy Soul and Gospel music of mid-twentieth century America. I always get a twinge of jealousy when I hear something in a movie or find it mentioned in a book, find it and then realize that other than that particular piece or artist, I'm stumped. A lot of this is just a facet of inkling and time, as I'm sure if I really burrowed into a group like the Del Fonics - who I was formerly introduced to in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown - falling into the associated chains of wikipedia pages associated with them and their producers, etcetera, I'd probably come up with some more artists to sate my thirst for dusty old Soul. That hasn't happened though; I'm overly self conscious in these areas and I tend to require gatekeepers. Irvine Welsh's novel Skag Boys turned me onto the tradition of Northern Soul - which previously had simply been the name of my favorite album by The Verve - and newer artists like Jamie Lidell, Charles Bradley and Alabama Shakes make access to the genre's evolution easier than digging, but it's just not the same thing, finding a new artist or finding an obscure, older artist. And really, I'm not even addressing Gospel here, as so much of that isn't easily accessible. In the 60s and 70s almost anyone can and did press records - you see evidence of this in thrift stores all the time - but today? Well, today we have youtube, which I am seriously beginning to believe is the collective consciousness of the human race made accessible. 'Cuz everything is on it. Case in point, Pastor T. L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir. Listen to this, it's awesome! But how did I find the music of a neighborhood Chicago Pastor and his Choir? How did I pull that from the din?
I found this via a gatekeeper: the cool, hazy sample that ends the Algiers record? It's from this. I love the way that sample ends the record; it has a cosmic, time-machine flavored influence that reminds me a lot of the looped sample that ends Zen Guerilla's cosmic masterpiece Positronic Raygun.
And then once I started researching off the Algiers sample I found that, of course, this is another case of the absolutely amazing Light in the Attic Records has put out some of this man's music.
|Yes, that's Isaac freakin' Hayes w/ Barrett. ISAAC HAYES!!!|
(Pause while I actually go do that...)
Then it gets even weirder. Go to the short bio for Pastor Barrett on LITA's site, right here. Being from the South Side of Chicago I remember when these pyramid schemes were big news. Crazy how something like my favorite album of the year so far - that immaculate Algiers eponymous - can bring something from so long ago back around again.