Sister Gertrude Morgan - King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan

Published Thursday 27th October 2005
Sister Gertrude Morgan - King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan
Sister Gertrude Morgan - King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan

STYLE: Dance/Electronic
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 14141-10203
LABEL: Ropeadope RCD16061
RRP: £14.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Sister Gertrude, born in New Orleans in 1900, spent most of her life in that city. She found fame with her child-like folk paintings which are today exhibited in the Smithsonian and other prestigious museums and galleries. But Gertrude was also a passionate Christian and gospel singer. In 1969 she made a set of recordings at Preservation Hall (the famed home of New Orleans jazz). With the dear sister singing old hymns and the occasional Thomas Dorsey in a bluesy rasp these tracks remained unnoticed by all save earnest folk music historians. But now, thanks to a mainstream DJ and producer who has cut dancefloor hits for Josh Wink and led his own funk collective Sylk 130, Sister Gertrude gets unexpectedly pulled into the spotlight. King Britt has taken the good sister's primitive acapella recordings and put some crisp break beats and sinuous, muted funk behind her. Occasionally he misjudges - the arbitrary use of excessive reverb on bits of Gertrude's vocals soon gets irritating while the fragments of interviews with former members of her New Orleans congregation aren't particularly interesting or illuminating. But when the fusion of rasping vocals and ricocheting beats works - like on the killer "Live Like Jesus" or the soul lifting "Precious Lord Lead Me On" - the effect is truly wonderful. Let's hope this fascinating experiment gets some exposure in clubland.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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