For those who believe in Original Sin, Predestination or, for that matter, Karma, here's a two disc set of the complete "Penitential Psalms" of Orlandus Lassus fabulously performed by Henry's Eight and marvelously recorded by Hyperion. Gloomy but glorious works that hope for the best while assuming for the worst, Lassus' setting of seven fuliginously serious but spiritually salubrious Psalms of David are sure to send shivers down the spine of anyone with a pessimistic cast of mind. The acapella performances of the all-male – two countertenors, three tenors and three basses – Henry's Eight is darkly hued, strongly rhythmic, deeply soulful, very expressive and absolutely true to the late Renaissance agony of Lassus's music. While not perhaps the first place to start with for Lassus in a melancholy mood – try "The Tears of Peter" for the peak of harmonic anguish – Henry's Eight's recording Penitential Psalms belongs in every Lassus collection, especially as preserved in Hyperion's intimate and evocative sound.
Jim Ed Brown was an American country singer-songwriter who came to fame as a member of the 1950's vocal group The Browns, where he was the band's lead male vocalist. In 1965, when the group was still together, he embarked on a solo career that would eventually eclipse the success of The Browns. Jim Ed Brown had his greatest success in the late 1970's, when he regularly performed duets with Helen Cornelius.
Difficult as it may be for younger listeners to believe, there was a time when ECM released adventurous improvised music. Back near its inception in the early '70s, the label issued a wide variety and decent number of challenging avant-garde recordings that represented some of the most forward-looking musical thinkers of the time. One of these was Marion Brown, who, at the time of this session, was about midway between his extreme post- Coltrane explorations and the luscious, down-home evocations of Georgia that he would create for Impulse! over the next few years. He gathered 11 musicians, including a couple from the then current Miles Davis Bitches Brew band (Chick Corea and Bennie Maupin), the then little-known Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, and the late great vocalist Jeanne Lee for two side-long, wide-ranging pieces.
The third and last solo album by Vicky Brown in Holland, produced by her daughter Sam Brown. Vicki Brown was an English pop, rock and contemporary classical singer. She was a member of both The Vernons Girls and The Breakaways and was the first wife of fellow singer and musician Joe Brown and mother of the singer Sam Brown. In 1979 Brown began recording with The New London Chorale and the group's popularity with the Dutch people paved the way for Brown's solo success in the Netherlands. As a session and live vocalist, Vicki worked with Jon Lord, Roger Waters, Alvin Lee, Chris Farlowe, Steve Marriott, Cerrone, Gary Moore, Yvonne Keeley, Eric Burdon, Pink Floyd, Bryan Ferry, Olivia Newton-John, Robert Palmer, Elton John, amongst other artists.