The Caravans, Shirley Murdock & more
I hope this newsletter finds you all beating the heat as best as possible. We’re enjoying a cooler week (meaning the high 80s) in Nashville after a solid (almost) 10 days in the high 90s and 100s.
I’ve got a few exciting things to share this week.
Shirley Murdock—As We Lay: The Elektra Recordings (1985-1991)
I had the opportunity to write the liner notes for the upcoming Shirley Murdock box set (release date: August 26) which collects and expands her Elektra recordings from 1985-1991. I interviewed Shirley and her husband/collaborator Dale DeGroat for the notes and dug deep to articulate the importance of these albums not just in the R&B field, but also contemporary gospel. It’s a beautiful package and the remastering is top notch. You can pre-order on Amazon here.
Juba Kalamka—Son of Byford
I first heard Juba Kalamka’s work in the early 2000’s as part of the pioneering homo hip-hop group, Deep Dickollective. He was working simultaneously as a music columnist, book reviewer and feature writer for Colorlines magazine (where he had reviewed my 2006 album The Muse before we’d met!). In the years since, he’s become a friend and comrade. Well, his first collection of poetry is being published….and he asked me to write the foreword for the collection, Son of Byford, which will be released on July 9!
It is a wordsmith’s dream and is unapologetically vulnerable, brave and compelling. The publisher describes it this way: “This collection refracts 1970s shades of Black and blues that give way to hip hop, post-millennium tensions, and godless queer queryings, informed by love, conviction, and hope.”
You can pre-order via Amazon or direct from the publisher.
The Caravans—I Won’t Be Back
Malaco Music has been doing an incredible job of (finally!) making the Savoy back catalog available digitally. They’ve unearthed hundreds of gems over the last few years, but yesterday, they completed their reissue of The Caravans full-length album catalog with 1962’s I Won’t Be Back. Recorded at the pinnacle of their success features Albertina Walker, Shirley Caesar, Cassietta George, Delores Washington and James Herndon. The album highlights include the classic title track, the Cassietta George-led “Remember Me,” the first recording of Andrae Crouch’s “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” and the fan favorite, “See How The Lord Has Kept Me.” Trust me, you don’t want to miss this! Links to Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.
I will see you in two weeks with a brand new feature on Russ Taff’s 1985 album, Medals. I can’t wait to share it with you!