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

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

KBB - Live 2004 – Guitarists may get the lion’s share of attention in fusion and prog, but there have always been leaders on other instruments. For violin, the story probably starts with Jean-Luc Ponty, and we can...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues