Album – THERE’S A MEETIN’ HERE TONIGHT
THERE'S A MEETIN' HERE TONIGHT
This was Bob’s last album on Riverside before moving to the Elektra label. By the time this recording was made he had appeared as a regular on the Arthur Godfrey Show and was quickly developing a widespread following. Here he continues to feature gospel and traditional type songs with his innovative arrangements and upbeat style. For the first time, Bob features the 12-string guitar.
Earl Backus, guitar
John Frigo, bass
Digital recording of tracks 3, 5, 14 and 15 are not yet available. All other songs are included on Joy, Joy! The Young and Wonderful Bob Gibson.
August 6, 1953
HE STRUMS THAT TUNE
ON HIT PARADE
Much of the responsibility for the guitar’s current surge in popular favor rests upon the shoulders of mild mannered, soft spoken Earl Backus.
A list of singers and instrumentalists Backus has supported… reads like a Who’s Who of the popular music industry.
NEWS, REVIEWS & NOTES
Johnny Frigo was an American jazz violinist, bassist, and a musician’s musician. Among his credits are numerous appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He first appeared in the 1940s as a violinist before working as a bassist, recording several albums as a leader. He was one of the world’s greatest jazz violinists and enjoyed a comeback in the 1980s.
…some of the most zestful and spirited singing ever heard anywhere, and that features a wonderfully compelling musical beat. It is also an album that makes it quite clear why Bob Gibson has, within the space of a very few years, risen swiftly and surely to a position very close to the top of the heap in his chosen field.
There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight
Liner Notes by Orrin Keepnews
Once upon a time there was a young lady who allowed as how she had heard lots of people singing folk songs on record and in clubs, and she liked them well enough, but she couldn’t understand why they spent so much of their time plodding so somberly through sad and whining songs. After a while, she said, she found it all pretty dull. To any and all such young ladies, or men, we have a simple and helpful suggestion: listen to BOB GIBSON!
Listen in particular to this album of selections from the varied and remarkable Gibson repertoire. It is an LP that offers some of the most zestful and spirited singing ever heard anywhere, and that features a wonderfully compelling musical beat. It is also an album that makes it quite clear why Bob Gibson has, within the space of a very few years, risen swiftly and surely to a position very close to the top of the heap in his chosen field.
There are several reasons for Bob’s already wide and steadily growing appeal. For one thing, he can sing: he has a warm, true voice (and this is not necessarily a commonplace or automatic quality among performers of folksong). For another, he can play: he is a highly skilled banjoist (again, not a commonplace in a field in which many singers are content merely to hit a few chords in accompanying themselves).
But above all there is an element that appears to be a combination of all this plus something else, something fairly undefinable that can best be noted by such terms as “charm” or “personality.” It is that plus factor, that extra-added, that distinguishes all true entertainers. It is a quality that reaches out and grabs hold of his listeners, making them feel a sense of almost personal identification and affection.
The quality of charm and warmth of personality would seem much easier to project on a night club floor or at a concert than through the comparatively impersonal medium of records. But it was captured at least once before by recording on-the-spot at a New York concert (RLP 12-816), complete with audience reaction, and group singing when requested. And it is our strong feeling that it has been captured once again, even though without benefit of audience, on the present album. This was accomplished through a combination of circumstances that must be attributed only partly to planning and partly to luck. It was planned to record Bob in Chicago, the city in which he has scored most heavily and has built his largest following.
And it was planned that he be accompanied, not only by his own banjo, but by the added rhythmic impetus of bass and guitar. But it was fortunate that the recording dates found Gibson in exceptionally fine and happy form, and fortunate also that the two accompanists of Bob’s choice (two of the best and most adaptable musicians in the Chicago area: bassist Johnny Frigo and guitarist Earl Backus) were not only available but turned out to fit remarkably well into Gibson’s driving and buoyant mood. (Frigo is also largely responsible for the instrumental arrangements.)
As for the selections sung and played here: that possibly mythical young lady mentioned in the opening paragraph would certainly find none of them whining or dull. This does not mean that they are all cheerfully superficial items. Far from it; there are work songs and spirituals and quite a few songs that deal with the stark realities of life. Perhaps the best single example of the Gibson spirit is his choice of—and his treatment of—Pastures of Plenty. This is one of Woody Guthrie’s best and most moving songs of the hard lot of the migratory workers, and there is much bitterness in it. But there is also a haunting beauty to the melody, a real folk-poetry in its language, and more than a hint of an indomitable spirit that will not bow down to the hardness of life. It is these elements that Gibson stresses in his handling of the song.
Bob’s repertoire has always included Negro spirituals, jubilees and gospel songs, and this album has a liberal representation of such selections. These, too, tend to be songs that celebrate hope and faith, despite the fact that they originated with poor, hard-working, oppressed people. They also tend to be songs that call for, and take full advantage of, a surging rhythmic beat such as is provided by the three instrumentalists here and on three of them Gibson substitutes the fuller, richer sound of the twelve-string guitar.
Some selections here have rarely been attempted by folksingers other than those first associated with them. Whoa, Buck is a work song, addressed to a team of oxen, that Leadbelly learned from his uncle and recorded several times. Brandy, a South African song, was translated from the Afrikaans tongue and popularized by Marais and Miranda (but Bob has added what is both a new strain and a sardonic touch by incorporating into it a South African Negro refrain). There’s a Hole in the Bucket (which, like When I First Came to This Land, is best known among the Pennsylvania Dutch) was first popularized by Oscar Brand.
In such instances, though, and also with a number like Easy Rider (which is structurally much different from the early Negro blues that was its starting point), Gibson demonstrates his ability to make almost any song at least partly ‘his,’ whether by altering it specifically or merely by injecting his own approach and attitude. Thus, for another example, although the selection that gives the album its title undoubtedly refers to a revival meeting, its function here can be taken as inviting one and all to get together with Bob Gibson and his friends for an evening of rare musical entertainment.