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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, July 15, 2007
    Made under the influence of Enthusiasm
     
    The nature of the Roman Catholic Church is to make the here-and-now Christ grow and be available to all. The nature of the Protestant Church is to communicate "cheap Grace" - which is no Grace at all - through emotional, provocative and stimulating entertainment, especially through the twin talismans of noise and rhythm. Most of the records in this collection were made under the influence of Enthusiasm.

    I've been trying for a decade (on and off) to obtain a copy of American Primitive Vol. 1 - Raw Pre-War Gospel (1926-36) and today thanks to Second Layer I have one. Worth exploring for John Fahey's provocative six-page theologising sleeve notes even before listening to the astonishing sounds therein. Fahey is onto something when he writes of this very primal music, 'I have to say that, Flannery O'Connor notwithstanding, underneath it all I hear pan pipes tooting and a cloven hoof beating time', and in his rich description of the collection's opening artist: 'Blind Willie Davis. Very exciting. Davis sounds like he came up right out of the earth.'