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If 1960 was a return to detuned stegosaurus rock form (after about 10 years of jeepbleeps and noise and smaller-crew productions), 1961 is a return to core-band archaeopteryx rock form. Indeed, it’s harder to get more constant than your own family, and this is family-band brand Soul-Junk through and through. Jon is back (bass), brother Brian is now in the mix (guitar/keys), and drumming son Jude and singing/percussing daughter Mila (at the tender ages of twelve and five respectively) form the core. With two-fifths of the band's ages not even adding to 18, there's a nice concentrated swoop at tapping into the clanking naive carbonation of some of Soul-Junk's early 90s hit records like 1950 and 1951.
Glen Galaxy has been singing words from the Bible for almost 18 years, but 1961's lyrics are exclusively from the ancient words of pilgrimage, struggle, comfort, hope and joy commonly known as the “Songs of Ascent”. Guitars, bass, and drums all wrapped in backbeat thump and skunk send up beguiling, stone-skipping themes. There is, in classic Soul-Junk style, an epic arch to the entire record, but of particular note is the movement from psalms 125 through 127, where it moves from something Glen might have written as a '90s lazy-shaker Trumans Water number...to some dollar-store Lee Hazelwood...to a pummeling USAisamonster-ish jam about good sleep.
That the “Songs of Ascent” have served as the comforting accompaniment to Glen’s wife’s eventual triumph over cancer is especially poignant. Cathleen, Glen’s bride of nineteen years, is now healthy and whole. His family’s sojourn through the valley of the shadow of death has been its own song of ascent; ascent into deeper confidence in just how completely they are cared for. 1961 is a ultimately a document of wonder and raw "those-who-dream" celebration.
Glen - Guitar, Voice, Melotron, Bouzuki-Gamelan
Jude - Drums
Jon - Bass
Brian - Guitar, Keys
Milan - Voice, Percussion
Kate Hatmaker - violin on 125
Produced by Brent Asbury (also played drums on 133)
Recorded at Singing Serpent San Diego
127 and 128 mixed by Rafter Roberts
Mastered By Rafter and Jim Garry
Art by Jonathan with collages by Glen and photos by Cathleen
James Navarro Master-Prep