I love the genesis of this project, and the resulting CD....and I'm pleased that one of the folks involved, Brett Lock, shared it with me....he wrote me:
I'd like to tell you about an album by 'The Vinyl Closet' which is a re-recording in a modern style of blues songs with LGBT themes.
brief background of how we came to record this: My musical partner, Ted
Brown, and I started off being invited to do a talk for the Gay &
Lesbian Humanist Association in the UK on the subject of LGBT
representation in early popular music. We played some recording of
Bessie Smith and Kokomo Arnold and others, and - to make the talk more
lively, since I play guitar and Ted sings - we decided to perform a few
of the songs as a novelty. What we found was that people remarked that
the old recordings were a little hard to follow because they were so
crackly and predated hi-fi recording. The audience preferred it when we
performed the songs, so we found ourselves adding more songs to our
repertoire and phasing out the playing of the recordings.
The talk soon metamorphosed into a show which we
were invited to do around London. It was a natural step from that to
record our modern versions with the help of a few other musicians we
The result is here: "Pink, Black & Blues"
Now, as a music historian this is Right down my street, as I've featured many of these songs on a show I did in October 2007, called "Queer Blues." I got a kick out of hearing what they did with so many old blues songs that I admire so much, like Bessie Jackson's "BD Women." (I have to chime in that in the image below I'm fairly sure that's Ethel Waters, and not the song's originator, Bessie Jackson)
But I can do better than just letting you hear one song....if you go to their site
You can not only sample all the songs on the album, but hear a podcast where they present the music, much like the evening events that spawned the album.
And you can buy downloads at their Bandcamp site:
Okay, I'm taking a side trip on this post, but it IS related. Brett Lock also shared with me that he was in a South African band in the late 1990's called One Large Banana, and their 1997 EP included a song he wrote for his then-boyfriend, now-husband, a song called "Cry." Brett says the straight lead singer had no problem with singing the same-sex lyrics of the song.