Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John Littleton

Artist: John Littleton w/ Chœurs du Noviciat de Concy-Yerres
LP: Amen — John Littleton Chante Odette Vercruysse 
Song: "Gethsemani"
[ listen ]
Song: "Petit David"
[ listen ]

After spending the night tent-camping in beautiful Shepard State Park just outside Gautier, Mississippi, I decided to stop for breakfast at the very first Waffle House I came to—which was about the 7 millionth one I'd seen on my trip.

It was better (yummier and more diner-like) than I thought it would be! Continuing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on super-scenic Highway 90, I finally arrived back in New Orleans on the afternoon of April 13th, a Sunday. I'd booked a room at the charming Burgundy Bed & Breakfast, just a few blocks east of the historic French Quarter. If you're headed to New Orleans and looking for a nice quiet place to stay, I highly recommend the Burgundy. 

The French Quarter Festival was wrapping up its final day as I set out on foot to explore the city. There were throngs of tourists milling through the narrow boulevards, some stopping to listen and dance to street musicians, as well as to those scheduled to perform on stages throughout the neighborhood. On the eastern border of the French Quarter I came upon the Louisiana Music Factory, a bustling record and CD store where I found this terrific French-language gospel LP that features John Littleton performing songs and hymns by Odette Vercruysse. Born sometime in 1930 in Tallulah, Louisiana, John Littleton began singing in church at an early age. The U.S. Army later took him to Reims, France, where he reportedly fell in love, both with the land and with a lady. Littleton remained in Europe and continued singing, eventually becoming known as the "ambassador of the negro spiritual in France." The traditional Southern spiritual and the French chanson make a fascinating combination, as you can hear in the songs included above. John Littleton is backed on the record by the Chœurs de Noviciat de Concy-Yerres, as well as an orchestra directed by Francis Le Maguer. You can read more about John Littleton in French here and go here for his English-language obituary in The Independent.

[ John Littleton: 1930 — August 24, 1998 ]

[ Louisiana Music Factory — New Orleans, Louisiana ]

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