Thursday, 7 October 2010



This is a crazy sounding record, genuinely individual and original that displays a talent and force unhindered by the usual elements that ruin music.  It is a record that I gained in crazy circumstances on an adventurous night for the right reasons as reward for a rare good deed done well by me.

Joseph Spence is (or rather was) pretty unique.  Or rather that Joseph Spence has been recorded for posterity is unique.  Coming out of the Bahamas, this is pure blues folk music with a noted hint of calypso written and performed out of pure joy for the sole purpose of entertainment and cleansing the soul.  In both his playing and singing Spence displays a methodology not regular or common, an original sparkle that displays/represents humanity on an authentic level.  He was a community musician and rightly or wrongly I have Spence down as being a kind of Uncle Remus character.  The uncharted nature of his music isn’t on purpose; he was just going with his emotions and how he felt.

Good Morning Mr Walker is twenty one tracks of joy (fourteen recorded and seven in concert from Boston in 1971).  Credited for his “delightful rhythmic guitar improvisations” his music contains inimitable vocalisations of traditional gospel and local Bahamian songs.  Indeed on the credits of the record his singing is described as “vocal sounds”.  All hail the rural bluesman; this is the Joseph Spence blues explosion.

Does it matter that Spence played almost exclusively in the key of D?  Maybe but it is certainly more interesting to learn that Spence was the son of a pastor and worked as a sponge fisher, stonemason, carpenter and crop cutter.  This was a skilful man that could multitask.

This is a summery collection full of laughter and joy not least during the live performance of “Will The Serpent Be Unbroken” where halfway through Spence laughs aloud “I don’t know the words” but carries on regardless with his trademark scat as the audience taps into his enjoyment laughing along with him.  And this is not the first on the record that Spence is heard inhabiting laughter.  He’s just a joy to the world.

A special talent such as this could not be presented to the layman but who wants to appeal to the layman?

Thesaurus moment: nourishing.

Arhoolie Records

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