Saturday, August 11, 2012
Rhonda Vincent - Sunday Mornin' Singin' LIVE!
Well, I got it. I've been taking advantage of that free music offer that Valero is doing when you buy a 44 oz. fountain drink. Also I've torn a few credits from cups that people tossed in the street instead of putting in the trash.
As I had mentioned before, this is a collection of gospel songs, or gospel-related songs performed in her usual bluegrass (or bluegrass-related) style. They were all recorded live, and these are the most well-behaved audiences I've ever heard on a live album. Most of these songs don't even sound like they came from a live performance until you hear the applause at the end of each piece.
Most of these songs are original, but there are a few old traditional hymns in the mix. One song, "His Promised Land," is performed a capella (nothing but voices), but for some dumb reason they stick a half-step up key change in the middle of it. This is a typical trick in pop music to keep a boring song from sounding quite too boring, and in the vast majority of cases it's musically illogical and irrelevant. Suddenly changing key without reason between stanzas of a hymn is just weird and jarring. I felt like someone sneaked up and poked me in the stomach without any provocation.
I'm listening to it as I write this, and just came across another song with a similar unnecessary key change. I hate to harp on this, but man it's just not right. But I'm sure her audiences have been conditioned through listening to so much pop music* that they expect it and to them it sounds good.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, there are a few old traditionals here: Just As I Am, God Put a Rainbow in the Clouds, Joshua and The Old Rugged Cross. Possibly a couple of others, I'm not sure, but those are the ones I'm familiar with. In the case of "Just As I Am," I could go so far as to say terribly familiar. But this version I like. It's a little faster than I'm used to hearing it, and it's got a nice little swing to it that makes it sound like a waltz. She sings only three stanzas, which is probably a very good thing or she would've had to stick in a couple of those modulations just to keep people from drifting. The most "complete" version I know of has six stanzas. Once, during a particularly long and grueling service, we sang the whole thing through twice. Twelve stanzas of "Just As I Am" at once. I must admit that we might have benefited from a couple of key changes that time.
Unfortunately, since I downloaded this, I didn't get any documentation with it. I'm going to have to look up most of these songs and see if they are traditional hymns or not.
Okay, two a capella songs, the one previously mentioned and another called "Fishers of Men." She has a really good group of singers with her.
All in all, a great album in spite of my personal little gripes that don't matter anyway. I'm not going to say that I recommend it because I doubt that any of my readers listen to much gospel or bluegrass, but if you do, you should get it. And please note that by "gospel" I do not mean "contemporary Christian." As a general rule, I don't listen to lame pop music, no matter what the lyrics are about.
I might have to eventually buy this on CD anyway just to get the documentation on it. If anyone reads this who has the CD, I would be very thankful if you'd go to the trouble of scanning and emailing me the booklet.
*When I say "pop music," I don't just mean what most people refer to as "pop." I mean pop, rock, modern country...pretty much anything that's not classical, jazz or old hard-core country/folk, which has much more in common musically with classical than it does with modern "country."