Saturday 8 August 2009

We Insist!

I’ll tell you why I do this, and why I’ll keep on doing this. It’s about coming across things, being stopped in your tracks and shaken to the core and so excited and enthusiastic that you want to tell the world but then think ‘ang on a moment why isn’t everyone else going on about ... I’ll give you an example. I’ve just finished reading a book I borrowed from the local library, The Green Gauntlet by R.F. Delderfield, the final part of the A Horseman Riding By trilogy. Bawling my eyes out at the end I was, manfully pretending there was something in my eye, honest. I recently read his cracking crime caper, Come Home Charlie And Face Them. Borrowed that from the library too. Fantastic stuff. But when was the last time someone sidled up to you and suggested reading some Delderfield? Quite.
R.F. Delderfield did get a passing mention in the ninth issue of Your Heart Out (which can be downloaded for free here). But there was a lot more about Abbey Lincoln, a particular favourite of ours. Now, I do have to confess to having a real soft spot for the film The Girl Can’t Help It. Love all the old rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and Julie London singing Cry Me A River, and can’t resist Abbey Lincoln’s cameo. Yet I can fully understand why she was uncomfortable about being poured into that red gown, and all power to her for the way she had the courage to resist that stereotyping and gradually change the way she performed so that within a few years she was working with Max Roach and Oscar Brown Jr, giving her all singing on We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite which harnesses all the power of and purposefulness of the civil rights movement, and Abbey certainly scorches the earth and the roots with her extraordinary execution.
I have loved that record for some time now, but it is only recently that I have discovered on YouTube the presence of a surprising number of pieces of footage of Abbey performing songs from We Insist! The Max Roach outfit seems to have made a number of European TV appearances in the early ‘60s and the intensity and grace of these can still make the viewer sit up with a jolt every time they are viewed. I wonder if this time next year we’ll be celebrating the fact that it’ll be 50 years since We Insist! was recorded with quite the same vigour that twenty tedious years of the Stone Roses have been thrust upon us.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I will ever be a Jazz lover but Abbey Lincoln has a beautiful voice and she sings with such sincerity and feeling.