The New Orleans
Spiritualettes were formed in 1956, in the midst of a New
Orleans gospel movement that eventually produced a dozen or more
musical ensembles. Founded by Mississippi transplant Ruby Ray,
who remains the group’s leader, The New Orleans Spiritualettes
have continued to rely since that time on strong rhythms and
heart-felt harmonies that recall a backwoods choir as much as a
more-refined, city-based ensemble.
sound is further distinguished by a tightly rehearsed
instrumental combo considered an integral part of the group,
imparting echoes of the early Staple Singers to the
Spiritualettes’ fervent and heavenly harmonies. The standouts
abound on this hard-rocking program as the Spiritualettes also
pride themselves on truly distinctive and original arrangements
of the tried-and-true, old-time repertoire.
One real highlight is
the Spiritualettes sanctified, hard-driving take on
“Ninety-Nine-and-a-Half (Just Won’t Do),” which falls midway on
the scale of spirit possession between the 1956 gospel hit by
gospel great Dorothy Love Coates and a later, secularized
re-working by soul icon Wilson Pickett. By contrast, the
venerable “Down by the Riverside” gets an easy-going, upbeat
treatment, and “I Don’t Know Why (I Have to Cry Sometimes)” is
rendered almost in the manner of a doo-wop ballad.
originality help explain the New Orleans Spiritualettes'
longevity, but so does a passionate commitment that fills every
selection with God’s spirit. As leader Ruby Coates says, “We
love singing, and we love being Christians. You know, sometimes
you can get a message through with sermon, and sometimes you can
get one over with a song.”
Listen to any cut on
this superb CD, and we know you’ll get the message!