WUMB April Program Guide

Old (Blues) Wine in New Bottles

I’m a fan of deep blues like that of Son House. His stuff is so deep that listening to it can be a religious experience. In fact Son House was, for a time in his early adult life, a blues-singing preacher; single-handedly personifying the existential crisis between God and The Devil that exists in all of us. He had a song about it called “Preachin’ Blues” for Paramount in 1930, which is one of his best known recordings from that era. The story is autobiographical and depicts a spiritual clash, with the opening lines setting the table. I’m not sure his motives were pure, but his conscious probably was!

I’m gonna get religion
Gonna join the Baptist Church
I wanna be a Baptist preacher
So I don’t have to work

It’s a great way to start a song and Son House’s original recording is like a distilled essence, a potion. It is potent. The sound, the warps and warts of the recording and the performance, can be hard to take in. If you do have a stomach for it, though, it’s an elixir and it will stay with you. So when I learned via social media of a new rendition by a pair of sisters in Atlanta called Larkin Poe, I had to hear it! When someone handles something that you consider to be “yours”, you’re apt to keep a close eye on it, right?

The irony of discovering the existence of a relatively new cover of an 85+ year old Son House song via social media did not escape me, nor did the serendipity of finding a copy of their new record, wrapped in tight cellophane, when I arrived at the radio station the following morning. So I popped it in the player and gave a listen.

But our job as radio hosts isn’t to tell you what to find interesting, it is to present music that you may find interesting. After all, discovering what you like is what makes the experience of listening to music so great. You will hear a couple of new Larkin Poe tracks in our daily playlists on WUMB.  You be the judge!

~ Brendan

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