On their latest effort, Get on Board!: Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Freedom Songs, Volume 2, Kim and Reggie Harris sing their way through African-American history, from mourning to celebration. Through classic spirituals, gospel and American folk songs, the Harrises, along with a troupe of guest artsts, pay homage to those who came before them with the utmost respect and reverence. Consequently, their work is impeccable and well worth the fourteen songs included here.
Civil Rights Songs
If you're looking for an introduction to African-American folk music, this album isn't a bad place to start. From the highly informative CD booklet, which tells a story about each of the 14 songs, to the authentic and inspired performances on the disc, Get on Board
is an excellent addition to any folk library.
Reggie Harris starts the album out with "Done Wit' Driver's Dribbin'," which ably sets the stage for a set of songs about liberation and self-worth, freedom, and human rights. Harris sings, "I'm done with whips a-crackin' / roll Jordan, roll ... There's no slavery in the Kingdom," and it feels like the last straw has dropped, setting the singer and listener on a fourteen-song-long freedom journey.
Songs of Freedom and Revolution
The songs on this album narrate the plight of African-Americans from slavery to Civil Rights, waffling back and forth between the two eras with ease; as if to say that, even with Civil Rights accomplished, the plight of the African-American man and woman is not complete.
The ghosts of slaves and ancestors are prevalent here, inspiring and channeling through the Harrises and their impressive set of guest artists. Danny Glover, Baby Jay, Guy Davis, Bernice Johnson Reagon, and others add to the chorus, driving Get on Board with integrity and haunting raidance. Their adaptations of these classic American songs of protest, including the integration of gospel tunes like "Down by the Riverside" with rap and spoken word solos, are unforgettably inspiring. Definitely one of the best traditional folk records of the year.
HighlightsGet on Board Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning Trampin'/I Got Shoes Run Mary Run Freedom is a Constant Struggle