Monday, June 29, 2009

doll, a shadow doll: impromptu

























Marcy Daphine told me she was looking out her living room window in 1968 when she saw the neighborhood kids grab trashcan lids and rocks and begin a street fight, a fight that cost Arnie White his eyesight and permenantly damaged the hearing of Reggie Willis.

Daphine said she didn't think to call the police at the time. Instead, she was enthralled by all the banging, and so she ran out on the street with her camera and captured some marvelous footage. Indeed, the soundtrack of her film, Camden Street, became grist for the instrumental compilations she put together for this album thirty years later after the fight.

The album title "impromptu" refers not so much to the pre-recorded track as it does to the craft of making music to fit the street fight, and Daphine has created an enchanting mix here with violins and steel guitar.

Finally, there's the wonderful but tragic ballad selection where Daphine sings the histories of the kids in the fight. Perhaps most memorable among these ballads are "They Are Bleeding, but I Don't Know Their Names" and "James Johnson for Governor." In all, the album is a masterpiece.

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