Album Review - Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus - Dom Flemons
Grammy award winner, and two-times Emmy nominee, Dom Flemons needs no introduction to lovers of American Roots. So, I’ll just move along to the good stuff, and coming from the hugely talented and influential artist that Dom Flemons unquestionably is, you know it’s going to be really good!
Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus is a massive thirty-five track trip through the world of American Roots Music and its influence on other uniquely American music. The album is a mix of both songs and instrumentals, forged into an experience welcoming to all, whether you have previously dipped into the genre or you are a neophyte, seeking new horizons.
While the album switches between the various genres of American music, Dom Flemons lays bare the origins of it. Showing the interlaced fibres that interconnect in a patchwork of sound and colour. Dom Flemons shows the raw, simple sounding Bluegrass before switching to R&B, and by no other means than the sound itself, such is his talent for music, we can hear the relation between them, we can see the common roots that each grew from.
Roots from the early days of Bebop Jazz, from Louis Armstrong's celebration of life and love, to Hank Williams style Lone Cowboy Country and the self-reflecting humour it’s known for. Through to Bluegrass, we have come to expect from the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show, to the R&B Jazz made famous by Fats Domino, one of the Fathers of Rock and Roll.
Yet, this isn’t a simple tribute album, this is a unique journey into these worlds by an expert professor, a historian. Dom Flemons, gives us his own personal sound and original material; combining all the influences of his favourite subjects, into a breath of fresh air.
Taking the complex, multicultural, multinational birth of one of the most singular forms of musical energy the Human Race has ever created, he tracks the offspring that spread across the globe from the resulting explosion.
Channeling the chaos into a single album isn’t something I ever expected to hear, yet here it is. A trip across the plains of America, from the harmonica train march of a lone prospector with ‘Marching Up Prospect Hill’ to the urban streets of America with Rap/Hip Hop ‘Gotto Beat’.
The gripping and inspiring way Dom Flemons, delivers his music, is unlike anyone else out there, he is a force of nature, a lover of the true American sound, warts and all.
He is what we, in the old country, would call a Bard. A dying breed of storytellers, keeping the history of us all, alive in this modern world of mass manufactured plastic ‘music’ that is churned out, crammed down our throats, to just be discarded and left to rot by the side of the road.
In a hundred years’ time, this album, the works of said Bard, Dom Flemons, will still be listened to, hailed as an example of fun, joyful, soul-fulfilling music, a celebration of one of the most diverse, yet singly unique genres of Folk, American Roots, as well as her offspring, no matter how unruly they are; I’m looking at you Rock and Roll!
Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus is available on all good streaming services right now.
For more information on the truly great Dom Flemons, you can find his website here.
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