Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trouble in My Way

The Como Mamas (feat. Mary Moore) - Trouble In My Way

When I was a teenager in rural Kentucky, I used to entertain the fantasy of someday owning a record label, putting out 45s and LPs on myself and other people whose music I liked. One part of my imaginary empire was a gospel label, "Soul Folk Records," which would feature some of the singers and preachers I knew in my community and surrounding areas. These folks were regular, hard-working folks like my family, but they were "celebrities" among the locals. People always wanted to hear Carl and Willie Burr Bradshaw, a pair of eccentric brothers, sing and play, and a sermon by Rev. Donahue Price, whose square head and jowly face belied a gorgeous singing voice, was always better received if followed by a song. Like Mingering Mike, however, the record business remained strictly a fantasy (although I never made cardboard albums and album covers like Mike did). When I heard about the new Daptone CD Como Now, I just about flipped, because I realized that my dream had been realized.

I won't go into the story of how a group of great singers came to Mt. Moriah Church in Como, Mississippi (coincidentally, there was a Mt. Moriah in my area, too!) in the summer of 2006 to record, a capella, some fine gospel songs. I'll defer to the album's press page for that. Simply know that Como Now reflects the "true religion" that I grew up with and that still thrives in rural black communities, where the influences of megachurches and modern gospel music have not taken over. That is not to say that contemporary gospel is bad, but there's a certain honesty about these recordings that leaves the listener spellbound. Go get the CD and you'll see for yourself. "Trouble in My Way" is a chestnut that the Dixie Hummingbirds, among others, recorded. The Como Mamas' rendition of the tune takes me back to those old churches, with their wood stoves, paddle fans and foot patting. The Como Mamas are indeed "Soul Folk"!

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