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Bert's Bits -- CD Review:  New Orleans Delight DVD
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
by Bert Thompson

LABEL: NOD DVD 001-2009).  Playing time:  98 m. 0 s.

Just a Little While to Stay Here*; In the Garden†; On Higher Ground; Jamaica
Medley‡; St. Jude’s Hymn; Precious Lord, Take My Hand†; He Touched Me; I’ll Fly
Away; Lead Me, Savior; His Eye Is on the Sparrow; Will the Lord Remember Me?;
Do, Lord; Mary Wore a Golden Chain; Amen; When I Come to the End of My
Journey; Little Wooden Church‡; An Evening Prayer.

Recorded at the Mösseberg Festival, Falköping, Sweden, Aug. 12, 2008.

Personnel: Marilyn Keller, vocals; Kjeld Brandt, clarinet, alto Eb clarinet†; Bengt
Hansson, trombone; Hans Pedersen, piano, tenor sax*; Erling Lindhardt, banjo,
dobro‡; Stefan Kärfve, string bass, bass drum*; Claus Lindhardt, drum set, snare

Each year in Falköping—a small town about 200 miles southwest of Stockholm—in
late summer, a four-day Christian festival has been held in a giant tent holding
upwards of 800 people, a kind of Swedish equivalent of the Southern U.S. camp
meetings of old.  (This year, 2009, none was held because of the death of the festival
director, and next year’s is to move indoors, probably due as much to the vagaries of
the weather as anything else. But it will be sad to have no more “tent” meeting with
its unique ambience.)  As part of the 2008 festival, New Orleans Delight was invited
to participate, and along with their guest singer, Marilyn Keller from Portland,
Oregon, accepted.  

This festival was broadcast on radio and also was filmed, and what we have here is
the complete New Orleans Delight concert given at that festival—a little over an
hour-and-a-half’s duration, excluding the intermission.  Other than the band’s
entrance on Just a Little While to Stay Here, which consists of a small parade from
the back of the tent down the aisle to the stage, the sound is excellent.  The camera
work is also of the highest caliber—I suspected five cameras were involved (this was
later confirmed), providing a great variety of camera angles, all of which enhance
viewer interest with no interruption to the sound when the focus shifts from one
camera to another.  The lighting is also superb.  After seeing this DVD, it will be
hard to go back to the single immoveable camera angle of so much on YouTube and
even on some “professional” DVD’s that I have seen, not to mention the spotty
sound and dim illumination they often exhibit.

Most of the tunes on this disc have appeared on other New Orleans Delight /Keller
CD’s, but each rendition is different, and of course there is the added benefit of
observing as well as listening to the performance here.   As always, Ms. Keller’s
“pipes” are in excellent shape, and she exudes joy and warmth and a feeling of
gentleness as she delivers each song.  She never, as so many lesser singers do, goes
over the top, nor does she project a giant ego, as do many others.  One senses her
control at every stage: the careful use of vibrato, of inflection, of volume.  Nothing is
forced.  Many aspiring (and some more “experienced”) vocalists could learn a lot
from her.  This being a Christian festival performance, all of the numbers are
gospels or spirituals, and most if not all should be quite familiar.  (When I Come to
the End of My Journey is more often titled He’ll Understand and Say, ‘Well Done!’)

We also get the opportunity to see and hear the band in its usual format, namely the
six-piece group, with trombone and clarinet sharing the lead, and there is nothing
wrong with that.  On most New Orleans Delight CD’s a guest trumpet player is
included, but here the only guest is the vocalist.  Their playing is, as might now be
expected of this band, second to none.  One can hope that they might again appear
at this festival sometime in the future and be filmed once more.

This DVD will bear repeated viewing and should not just sit on the shelf gathering
dust.  Ordering information can be obtained by contacting neworle@nsdelight.dk (e-
mail) or visiting www.new-orleans-delight.dk (web site).
Bert Thompson