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Brick Fields - Gospel Blue
10 tracks 47:31
Fields Of Sound
We don’t get too much Gospel music in the pages of Blues Blast, yet in my mind the genre is inextricably linked with blues. In the past, many blues men (and women) moved seamlessly from one type of music to another. To be sure, some of them became conscience stricken and either gave up playing altogether or stuck, like Thomas A, Dorsey with gospel, after years of living with the sobriquet Georgia Tom and playing and singing blues, sometimes of a very ‘adult’ nature. Rev. Gary Davis played wahy is sometime called “Holy Blues” and often asked people not to tell his wife when he played secular pieces.
Brick Fields are first and foremost, a gospel group. Fronted by Larry Brick and Rachel Fields, they hail from Eureka Springs, Arkansas and have, for some years, been performing in a variety of venues throughout NW Arkansas. They were the winners of the recent Ozark Blues Society Challenge and were headliners on the Gospel Blues Stage at the King Biscuit Blues Festival, October 8th 2011.
Let’s say right a way, that Rachel Fields has a fabulous voice, sometimes full on gospel, like many of the southern Baptist raised singers, sometimes laid back and jazzy with tinges of Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan. She is also a fine flute player with a terrific haunting, ‘singing’ tone. Larry Brick, Rachel’s partner – to use the current vernacular – is a fine guitarist and singer, matching Rachel’s, passion with six string skills and a honey and wine voice.
Gospel Blue contains nine originals many of which are delivered with deeply felt love verging on passion (sometimes of a very non-religious kind - check out On The Vine – which seems to be a declaration of personal one-to-one commitment). The CD ends with a thoughtful jazz inflected cover of “Amazing Grace.”
My favorite track, without a doubt is In “The Light Of Love” which starts with a delightful close harmony acapella introduction before morphing into a jazzy, up-tempo piece of gospel in the old tradition.
A 32 bar blues “Addicted To You” features Fields’ super alto voice in a statement of earthly passion, a tradition harking back to Georgia Tom.
The rest of
the music is filled with passion, fervour and fine instrumentation and
the production is – to my ears – flawless. It is the kind of music heard
in many an Episcopal church throughout the USA on a Sunday, here
delivered with skill, passion and commitment.
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has two web-cast regular blues radio shows. One on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central), the second on KCOR – Kansas City Online Radio (on Fridays at 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central) www.kconlineradio.com.