Blues In The South published a short review from Norman Darwen on the new ElectroBluesSociety single:
Bluesman Roscoe Chenier recorded some fine material for Black & Tan, including this fine a cappella rendition of the old gospel standard, released in 2006.
On this new single download release, ElectroBluesSociety have added a modern, bass heavy musical accompaniment including slide guitar it is actually pretty sympathetic and effective. The track runs to five minutes long, and although purists may sneer, if it brings a new audience to the blues, it will have done its job.
The traditional hymn ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken’ is one of Gospel’s most recorded songs. Soul folk will most probably know and cherish the haunting rendition from the Staple Singers. An equally haunting version was cut by bluesman ROSCOE CHENIER in 2006. His acaplla take was recorded for Black and Tan Records. It was, in fact, the Louisiana born Chenier’s last recording (he died in 2013) and amongst the gospel and blues community it has acquired an almost mythical status. The track has just been reissued by Black and Tan, but for the release they’ve added musical backing from Dutch band, ElectroBluesSociety, the sparseness of which manages to enhance the ethereal quality of Chenier’s original vocal. The single is out now.
ElectroBluesSociety did a great gig yesterday at De Hip in Deventer (NL) and here is the first live video from that concert. The vocals that you hear came out of a recording session that the guys did a few weeks ago with Jan Hidding of the Cuban Heels.
ElectroBluesSociety are a Dutch-based “Organic Dance music” duo mixing electronics with raw, vintage live Blues-based sounds; self-described as “two guys and a bunch of junk with a broad taste and an open mind. Together, they are mixing modern technologies with 30+ years of live stage experience.” ElectroBluesSociety (EBS) consists of drummer and bassist Jasper Mortier and guitarist and Black & Tan Records owner Jan Mittendorp. Mortier has worked with the likes of Paul Oscher, Preston Shannon, “Sax” Gordon Beadle, Philip Walker, and Boo Boo Davis, while Mittendorp has toured extensively across Europe & The US with artists such as Percy Strother, Smokey Wilson, Boo Boo Davis, Erskine Oglesby, and Roscoe Chenier. Jan Mittendorp personally, worked with American R&B singer and guitarist Roscoe Chenier for nearly 20 years and released two of his critically-acclaimed albums—Roscoe Style (1998) and Waiting for My Tomorrow (2006)—on Black & Tan Records. Chenier’s rendition of traditional Gospel hymn, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” was originally released on Waiting for My Tomorrow in sparse, stripped-down acapella form. Now, nearly 12 years after its initial release, Black & Tan Records have properly re-released “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” with a newly-orchestrated backing track arranged by EBS to accompany Roscoe Chenier, who, unfortunately, passed away in 2013. Jan Mittendorp said, in an exclusive statement sent to The Witzard, “Jasper and I and both terrible singers (to put it mildly) but [on the other hand], we love Blues and Roots music, mainly because of the vocals.” Mittendorp enthusiastically continued: “so, instead of doing some bad singing ourselves, we prefer to use something good that is already existing. We have some more projects coming up, where we use new vocal recordings of guest singers that we invited for a recording sessions.” ElectroBluesSociety’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” personally, reminds me of Jamie xx’s 2011 full-album remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 return-to-form I’m New Here, fittingly re-titled We’re New Here. “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” has been released as a digital-only single on Black & Tan Records, now available on Apple Music, Deezer, Soundcloud, Spotify, and similar like-minded digital retailers.
Dutch Blues act ElectroBluesSociety release a hauntingly spectral musical accompaniment to the late Roscoe Chenier’s acapella rendition of gospel standby “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. Interestingly, ElectroBluesSociety, a Dutch blues act, comprised of Jasper Mortier (drums, bass) and Jan Mittendorp (guitar, production), who worked with Roscoe Chenier on several releases and several European tours decided to pay tribute to their late friend by adding a spectral and moody arrangement Chenier’s vocal that’s appropriately bluesy yet subtly modern, while retaining the timeless vibe of the original vocal take.
B&T 966 – Will The Circle be Unbroken – ElectroBluesSociety feat Roscoe Chenier
The original acapella recording of this old gospel tune was done by Roscoe Chenier and released by us in 2006. On this brand new release ElectroBluesSociety adds a musical background to Roscoe’s voice. We had the luck to work with Roscoe on several releases and tours in Europe from 1993 on and he was one of the nicest guys to work with. Unfortunately Roscoe died (far too soon) in February 2013.
This new track is released digital only and available on all the download and streaming platforms. Here are the links to a few popular ones.