I may burn at the stake for political incorrectness, but it’s the truth: I have an intense aversion to gospel music. My distaste dates to a haunting childhood vision in which an overwhelming Mahalia Jackson is routed by a malevolent clown.
As George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1894 (brought to my attention by colleague Francis Davis) “It is one of the inevitable evils of my profession [he was then reviewing music for a London daily] that I am asked to go to all manner of places; but hitherto I have drawn the line at going to church. Among the pious I am a scoffer: among the musical I am religious.”
My own story on the separation of church and taste, delving into a deep-seated suspicion of music used in the evangelical projection of religious faith and my embrace of the spirit of Pan via a 1959 Kraft Music Hall tv show of transcendent/subversive Harpo Marx is related in the “Epiphanies” column, the last-page of The Wire — Adventures in Modern Music(London) #285, November 2007.
Also in the issue: reports on Addis Ababa’s “Ethio-jazz” innovator Maluta Astatke, an interview with aging hardcore free-jazz saxophonist Sonny Simmons, and reviews of many sound sources and considerations — The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru, “Persian Electronic Music,” A Manifest For Silence: Confronting The Politics And Culture Of Noise — unlikely to get much notice elsewhere. On international newstands everywhere?