Exposé Online banner

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic with Oral Moses — Extreme Spirituals
(Cuneiform Rune 241, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01

Extreme Spirituals Cover art

This album is likely to split Birdsongs fans. Some might consider it a brave creative statement while others may see it as a failed experiment. I’m in the first category and in my opinion albums like this actually live up to the label progressive rock. Of course, any preconceptions toward old Negro spirituals, the context at the heart of Extreme Spirituals, will strongly influence the listener’s reactions. The band has gone one step further than using Negro spirituals – the basis of all gospel and blues music – as the inspiration of each piece. For the first time they’ve also included a vocalist on an album, Oral Moses, whose bass baritone imbues each track with a deep sense of authenticity. You’d expect more than a simple backing arrangement to these 12 songs and here the Birdsongs don’t disappoint. Often the instrumental arrangement can be seen as one big counterpoint to Moses’ vocal, as on “A Little More Faith in Jesus,” while others slide alongside more sympathetically, as with “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See.” At times the instrumental backing is little more than soft piano and flute, though elsewhere a strong rhythmic push from guest drummer Larry Dersch gets married to Michael Bierylo’s dynamic guitar, Erik Lindgren and Rick Scott’s keyboards, and Ken Field’s saxes, as on “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.” Overall this is a more elegant and reverent Birdsongs album compared to past efforts, a reverence for the material that seems totally appropriate and which is given a superb execution.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Ken Field

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/extreme-spirituals

Latest news

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gjallarhorn - Grimborg – Gjallarhorn’s last album, Sjofn (reviewed in #21), was one of my top CDs of 2000. The combination of thunderous drums, droning didgeridoo, and female vocals made for a unique sound that really...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues