"History with a great sound." -Bill Hahn, WFDU
"...this is a tremendously powerful album with a great sense of atmosphere
and the deepest possible commitment that shines through both in the
performances themselves and the exceptionally fine recording and
presentation. Prepare yourself for a heap of neck-prickling moments. This
is a landmark release..." -David Kidman, www.netrhythms.com (UK)
35 songs performed by 18 musicians offer a fresh look at the African American folk tradition. Outlining the epic story of a community’s triumph over oppression, Bound to Go includes authentic spirituals, shout songs from the Sea Islands, prison ballads and rare secular songs. “Run to Jesus” is the song that first gave Frederick Douglass the notion of escaping from slavery. The enclosed essay and historical/folklore notes draw connections between the Spirituals and indigenous West African religions. The essay further addresses the segregation of music and artists by genre in the 1920’s and 30’s, that has distorted our sense of the legacy - of who created - and shared in common - our folk, country and old-time music. These remarkable songs put a human face on our history. Bound to Go suggests that the music of the enslaved Africans in America is no more “roots of gospel” or “roots of the blues” than Beethoven and Bach are the “roots” of the composers who followed them. In their communal call-and-response balance of individual invention and group affirmation, forthright poetry and theological insight, the Spirituals are unsurpassed, and irreplaceable. Bound to Go puts some important songs back in circulation, presented in a form that reflects their original purpose; not the appreciation of one voice, but the inclusion of every voice.
Chicago singer-songwriter/guitarist Andrew Calhoun conceived, researched and produced Bound to Go. Percussionist/singer Tony Dale and gospel/blues artist Katherine Davis alternate leads on the “Tree of Life” hymn collected in Alabama in 1907; Dave Moore’s harmonica drives “Lost John,” a Texas prison escape ballad; “Back Home in Georgia” was collected from an infantryman in WWI. “Come and Go With Me” and “Old Man’s Song” present ancient scales rarely found in Western music; Sue Demel, of Sons of the Never Wrong, shines on a version of “Michael Haul the Boat Ashore” collected at Hilton Head, SC, in 1867. “Ol’ Egyp’,” driven by Fred Campeau’s fretless gourd banjo, personifies the system of slavery in the form of a bloodhound. Tyisha Williams delivers a beautiful version of the lullaby “Go to Sleep, My Baby.” The symbolism of the dove (spirit) and trumpet (Judgment Day and dawn of a new world) weave through the songs.
Cover painting is “White Scarf,” by Gullah artist Jonathan Green. In memory of Joy Calhoun, 10% of Waterbug’s income from sales goes to support programs for children, in Chicago and Charleston, SC.
Andrew Calhoun, vocals, steel-string, classical and wood resonator guitars;
Tony Dale, djembe, frame and snare drums, vocals; Lana Ferrante Lupiani, cello; Fred Campeau, banjo, fretless gourd banjo, vocals; David Young, trumpet, vocals; Bob Soper, fiddle, vocals; Dave Moore, harmonica; Erwin Helfer, piano; Darwin McBeth Walton, vocals, hand drum, hambone; vocals: Casey Calhoun, Valerie Carter-Brown, Katherine Davis, Sue Demel, Big Llou Johnson, Runako Robinson, Bruce Roper, Richard Shindell, Tyisha Williams