Everett True

Song of the day – 305: The Edwin Hawkins Singers

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Greatest vocal performance on vinyl ever? One of them, for sure.

This is being played at my funeral. I couldn’t give a cuss if it’s religious. It’s sung with a secular fervour.

This song was one of my secret weapons back when I used to DJ. (Why is it that, in near three years of living in Brisbane, not one person has asked me to DJ? ATP at Mount Buller, yes. The Falls Festival along the Great Ocean Road, yes. QLD, no. Guess it’s always harder to break into a local scene where everyone knows everyone else than an international one, where they don’t.) One of my fondest memories of my Plan B days was DJ-ing in front of a rabid 500-strong Friday night crowd in Istanbul and shoving this on, cranking the volume and watching the place go absolutely crazy-happy. I followed that with Shock-Headed Peters’ ‘I Blood Brother Be’ – two songs most the folk there can’t have known, surely? – and it was pandemonium inside, in all the best senses of the word. Only time I’ve ever been billed at the top of a poster as a DJ, too – my name writ larger than the bands – except for a Kimya Dawson show a couple of years back (post-Juno), and we were rather surprised at that!

Anyway. Play this at as high a volume as possible. It really does start to take on ‘Freak Scene’ textures, the louder it gets.

Thing is, it’s so easy to get it completely wrong.

8 Responses to Song of the day – 305: The Edwin Hawkins Singers

  1. Nazz March 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I agree – great great song and an inspired choice for a funeral song (me I’m picking something off Quadrophenia)
    I’m a gospel addict too – Reverend Charlie Jackson (Wrapped Up And Tangled Up In Jesus does my head in – gotta love a lyric like “And I couldn’t hold my pee”), the Staple Singers, Brother Claude Ely, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Reverend Louis Overstreet, The Soul Stirrers, The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi, those crazy old Louvin Brothers and Little Richard’s gospel stuff just for starters.

    Cheers that gave my day a big boost!

    PS: If I was a booker up there, I’d have you DJing for sure 🙂

  2. Everett True March 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    thanks for reminding me of that killer Charlie Jackson cut

  3. Eric March 19, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Man, the Spiritualized version sticks really close to the structure/arrangement of the Hawkins Singers one.

  4. Everett True March 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    it’s OK, but the guitars are way, way unnecessary

  5. han March 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    It’s eye opening. I like your story about Istanbul- this notion that people took the song for what it was out of context is very cool. I like the warm sound of the vinyl recording- hands up who misses that well rounded warm sound? Me! The second video- well I lasted 54seconds and had to switch it off. You make a good point.

  6. Everett True March 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    (from Facebook)

    Laura Crapo
    sounds like it was all recorded through the vocal mic. nice

  7. Little Annie April 2, 2011 at 1:21 am

    God Bless you Everett!
    You are on the money with this song. It is a lifesaver. Im Gospel lover

    and there’s is so much too love but said it perfectly ‘crazy happy’.

  8. soulcircus February 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Gospel here in Italy ‘s a stupid trend …nothing to do with spirituality.
    And it’s a shame !

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