Over the last two years, first in 2020 and then again in 2021, the Saturday Soundtrack before Halloween has featured roots music to celebrate the season. This year I’m traveling out of the country, but I have visited one town which goes all in for seasonal decorations: Alameda, California.
So, I’m going to post pictures from the creative folks in Alameda and intersperse them with a few of my favorite roots music songs for ghost, goblins, and other things that go bump in the night!
The blues and jazz cats have a great number of songs for the season. Nina Simone does her usual masterful job with the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins hit I Put a Spell on You. That is followed by Elise LeGrow breaking the Bo Diddley classic Who Do You Love “down to a new set of bare bones. Watch her rasping howl bring ‘a tombstone hand and a graveyard mind’ to life.”
Next, let’s turn to Rhiannon Giddens with a version of O Death from her recent album, They’re Calling Me Home. Giddens, with partner Francesco Turrisi, base this version on singing by Bessie Jones of the Georgia Sea Island Singers. As the Bluegrass Situation (BGS) site notes, it is a good reminder of “just how much of American music and culture are entirely thanks to the contributions of Black folks.”
There was one house in Alameda that went all in with a Haunted Broadway theme. Here are a number of their creations.
Although I’m not a Phillies fan, I thought this clever take on the 2022 baseball playoffs was too good to pass up!
Since I’ve been posting a lot of cartoons this season, it seemed appropriate to include one for Halloween.
The song that originally took me down this spooky path is the Del McCoury Band’s title track from the album It’s Just the Night, with backing vocals by the classic gospel group Fairfield Four.
Happy Hallowe’en, everyone!
More to come…
Image of werewolf from Pixabay. Playoffs graveyard by Claire Holsey Brown. All other images by DJB.
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