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Ben Bowen King - Sidewalk Saints

Sidewalk Saints

Ben Bowen King

Talking Taco Music - TT153D

Available from Talking Taco Music and

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This disc is subtitled Roots Gospel Guitar, and it is the music of Ben Bowen King who plays Resonator/slide guitar, harmonica, jaw bow, and one string fiddle. He is accompanied by Covita Moroney on: vocals/moans, all percussion: Coke bottle, kitchen spoons, suitcase, bass drum, tambourine, Amen corner, bass guitar, and Salvation Army cymbals. The songs are familiar gospel tunes we all know such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Shall We Gather At The River, etc., but played in a way you probably haven't heard in years, if at all (unless you have a collection of early 78s). They are played in a style (because some of the songs are too new to have been around then) of the old Gospel Guitarists who wandered the roads of the South in the early part of the nineteen hundreds. The guitar is played almost in a claw and hammer banjo styling, which allows for a great deal of percussion that is integral to the overall sound.

This is one of those discs that truly deserves and fits the appellation of Roots Music. When you are listening it almost becomes a visual history lesson of what life in the South and Texas was like in those days at the turn of the last century in the town square, before the car did away with its influence, with wandering minstrels and snake oil salesmen pitching their wares with whatever means were available to them and blurring the line between audience and performer. Erasing the line that separated those on the stage from those who were listening to the sales pitch, and becoming a part of the whole picture whether they realized it or not. This disc gets at and displays the roots of blues, Rock n' Roll and jazz. One of those gems that should not be missed.

Track List:

  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  • In The Sweet By & By
  • Preacher's Hellbound Train
  • Some Bright Morning
  • Satan - Surely Your Evil Empire Will Fall Someday
  • Great Speckled Bird
  • Shall We Gather At The River
  • What A Friend We Have in Jesus/Church Across The Way
  • Old Time Religion
  • Bathe In The Jordan
  • Blessed Be The Name
  • Michael Row The Boat Ashore
  • Amazing Grace

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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