Spirituals

  1. Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers – He’s So Wonderful
  2. André Solomon-Glover – Five Spirituals
  3. Mahalia Jackson – Everytime I Feel the Spirit
  4. Robert Sims sings Roland Hayes – Keep Me From Sinking Down
  5. The Soul Stirrers – I’m a Soldier
  6. Sweet Honey in the Rock – Run Mourner Run
  7. Roland Hayes & Afrika Hayes – I Can Tell the World

Writing yesterday about treasure hunting made me nostalgic. So, I turned to the internet for some soul-satisfying digging for old spirituals. I found some really wonderful baritones. Roland Hayes broke a lot of barriers and he did so by starting in Europe, where they were more accepting of a black opera singer. Bill Hicks, too, had better luck in Europe, where they got his poke-fun at America humor. Why should this be so? Why is America more intolerant and unable to laugh than the rest of the modern world? Are we so obsessed with earning as much money as possible that we forget the reason we’re even here?

Maybe Europe is like a hip, old grandfather. They’ve been to Woodstock, climbed the corporate ladder when they had to, ridden a motorcycle through Central America, lived a full life. So, they are naturally more tolerant – they’ve seen it all. And should something novel appear? Grandpa just laughs and cherishes the rare occasion, he doesn’t get angry or afraid. Those are the reactions of a bully teen, insecure and inexperienced but imagines the world to revolve around him and him alone. That is my impression of America. The dangerous bully teen. Hellbent and hungry. Out for your lunch money and your soul if you’re not careful.

No, this is not my home. I may have been born here but I would just as soon call myself a Texan more proudly than I would an American. And that means little aside from a romantic caricature. But here I am, in Austin TX, The Live Music Capital of the World. I have not had the privilege of trotting the globe, but if this is an accurate moniker then the world is indeed very, very lost. And somewhat smaller than I imagined it to be as a child.

Maybe we are the bully with untapped potential. Under that teen angst there is intelligence and wisdom and a beating heart. We certainly have culturally fertile soil here, this melting pot of all the world’s people. But with everyone scrambling for money and power who has a moment to breathe and actually communicate like an adult. Nothing can change without dialogue. Not shouting and bullying and suing and spying and terrorizing and invading and killing. Those are the actions of the night and the darkness.

‘And this is the judgment: Light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.’

Well, God already knows your deeds. And, ‘All that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.’ So, best to repent and change our wicked ways while we’re able. Or else. And I don’t want to know about that or else.

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