Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Panola County Spirit

"It's effortless and masterful, the kind of performance that feels as natural as breathing. Which is why it could hardly be more powerful." -NPR
Daptone: 'Announcing the third installment of our acapella gospel music series, this time from The Walker Family Singers. Listen to "Jesus Gave Me Water" from the upcoming album, Panola County Spirit, out March 18th.'

The previous releases from this region are stunning, so am expecting this will be another gem. These notes from NPR, tell the backstory:

'The way recording engineer Michael Reilly tells it in the liner notes of Panola County Spirit, Raymond Walker, the eighty-something patriarch of the Walker Family of Como, Mississippi, was always a singer of some renown. In fact, he was once the leader of a locally legendary (though never recorded) gospel vocal group called The Longtime Travelers.

According to Reilly, both Sam Cooke and Fred McDowell tried to coax Walker to accompany them on tour in the early 1960s, and both were refused "on account of [Walker's] family needing him at home." 

Brother Raymond and Sister Joella Walker ended up having four daughters and two sons, and all but one daughter have followed in their parents' footsteps by singing spirituals. As history would now have it, they're more than mere "singers." 

The Walkers are closer to standard-bearers of an a cappella gospel-singing tradition, which is front-and-center on the album Reilly recorded mostly in 2007 — and mostly in Raymond and Joella's living room.'

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