Fairfield Four: Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around
From 7″ (Dot, 1947). Also available on Standing in the Safety Zone: 1946-1949 (Roots and Rhythm Records).

Intro to the Soul Hut: While I was looking at the sites run by my fellow audiobloggers, it dawned on me that there was no reason why a bunch of us shouldn’t put our heads together and start collaborating. Thus was born Soul Sides + Tofu Hut = Soul Hut.

Just to give it up to TH – John’s audioblog was one of the first I came upon, alongside Fluxblog, and in no small way, helped spark the lightbulb above my head that said, “duh, dude, you’re a DJ and you already blog – start up your own!” John’s boundless energy with filling in the Tofu Hut with details-upon-details about the artists he highlights never fails to amaze. He also has a wider scope of musical interests than most other audioblogs I’ve seen but it never feels random or arbitrary.

This is the way this collab is going to work: I sent John five songs which he’ll post up on his site. He sent me five, the first of which appears here. We both gave each other comments on our selections and then were given the opportunity to add a riff of our own.

My theme for Tofu Hut was cover songs, the first of which being “C.C. Rider” done by Australia’s Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly. John sent me five gospel songs from years past – a genre that I’m pretty damn thin on. Here’s his comments on his first selection, by the Fairfield Four, is:This is, quite simply, among the most impressive expressions of emotion and art I’ve ever heard.

There’s a gradual but constant acceleration of tempo in the song; a gentle evocation that the further we delve into faith, the more buoyant and unstoppable that holy joy becomes.

The sustained notes on this track are glorious; they dip and bob on their ends like loops on a roller coaster. Every twist is a heartbeat deeper into awe.

The P-Vine reissue import is NOT to be confused with the MUCH later release from Warner Bros. from the Fairfield featuring new material but listed under the same name. Nothing wrong with that album, but it ain’t quite at this vintage.

Learn more about the Fairfield.Soul Sides sez:

The vocal work on this is a kick in the gut – the way that each of the singers just holds onto their notes while the rest of the three harmonize behind it. I don’t listen to much gospel but I’ve never heard anything like it before. It’s incredibly powerful; like they’re using their very, very last breath to make it happen. Rumor has it that B.B. King used to listen to their music and based his own singing style off theirs.

“Don’t Let” was apparently one of the Nashville group’s “signature songs” for the Fairfield Four (easy to see why), who were big shots in the gospel scene in the 1940s. What’s amazing is that 35 years after disbanding, they got back together and started recording again – that’s a hell of a time out.