Joseph Spence, passed away in 1984, and his gravelly voice is relatively unknown to those of his day, let alone to those of us in the music scene now, so why are we being treated to a reissue in 2021?
Well, Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing is far, far more influential than you might realize. You can hear him in the work of Taj Mahal and Richard Thompson. The Grateful Dead loved him so much that they covered his work!
You can hear his voice when Baby Gramps and Steve Weber sing too and that means this is a very important record, indeed.
It’s also one of the last works from a Bahamian rhyming gospel singer and this is a unique art form that requires multiple vocalists to create “call-response” sequences.
It may all sound a touch “all over the place” when you first listen to it, but with a bit of patience this three-way counterpoint comes together to create an unforgettable musical experience.
If you think you’d enjoy it if someone took Bahamian island music, a slice of gospel, a thimble of folk and a heavy dose of the blues and threw them into a blender together, you’re going to love this album, I know we did.
You can grab a copy online here.