Friday, September 22, 2023

Parchman Prison Prayer - Some Mississippi Sunday Morning [Glitterbeat 143]

Now this is something completely different and something even the most avid and dedicated music fan (... or nerd) would never have imagined to come across. Seriously, who'd ever expect to experience audio recordings of a sunday morning service coming to light that was held in a US maximum security state penitentiary? This is what the Parchman Farm prison in Mississippi is which, after three years of negotiation, granted producer Ian Brennan a few hours of access to the facility to record a total of twelve individual solo performances laid down by inmates as well as three choir pieces throughout the facilities sunday service hours. The result is an a little more than 37 minutes spanning journey through raw, deeply spiritual gospel music, surprisingly soulful and beauteous piano ballads like the touching "I Give Myself Away, So You Can Use Me", oldtime melodies and eerie subsonic baritone repetitions in the highly fascinating "Solve My Need" which, to our surprise, is as unprocessed and non-overdubbed like the rest of this album, including the subsequent, surprisingly modern minimal Future R'n'B rhythms of "Falling In Love With Jesus Was The Best Thing I've Ever Done", improvised Spoken Word freestyles and a grand finale which matches the joy and enthusiasm of every regular church service. Most likely an album unlike any other Spiritual album you'll probably ever hear. For a reason.

Album artwork on Instagram!


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