6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Over the years spirituals as a form of music have been `westernised', linked to classical, jazzed up, grouped with folk and generally taken over in a variety of ways - and this CD demonstrates yet another unique blend. The first track `Ain't You Glad You Got Religion' sets the scene with Lonnie Donegan's distinctive voice and `skiffle' approach coupled to religious music. Such combination may appear to conflict with memories of listeners re-calling Lonnie from `My Old Man's A Dustman' or `My Chewing Gum Loses Its Flavour', but it is not unexpected by those identifying his days as a jazz player and as a vocalist for gospel numbers with Chris Barber's jazzband. Here he performs religious music, but unlike relying on orthodox hymns Lonnie adopts and adapts the spirituals of negro slaves in America - when singers shared sorrows and pains, and reinforced hopes and dreams for a better life with God.
Rhythms, chants and shouts are all on this CD, built into a pleasing selection of well known songs collected from early LPs and records - some live and some studio sessions. For me a concern is how the skiffle influence tends sometimes towards a too fast tempo (as `The Sunshine of His Love'), yet it is possible to argue some are too slow (as `Steal Away'). Furthermore on some tracks (as `His Eye is on the Sparrow') I find Lonnie's diction unnecessarily affected. Many of the traditional numbers are Lonnie Donegan's own arrangements and on some he plays with his own group. For others he is accompanied by a variety of artists including Miki & Griff, The Kestrels and The Jordanaires. Overall his treatment is sensitive and passionate, and this CD should appeal to both Lonnie Donegan fans and to aficionados of gospel and spirituals.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2001
I've been listening to Lonnie since 1956, on this CD he sings with feeling.This record is Inspirational, it's just fantastic, and Lonnie really rocks. His rendition of His Eye is on the Sparrow is beautiful.