Dimona brings the soul
I’m an avid fan of Sound Opinions – the world’s only rock and roll talk show – hosted by the rock critics from the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune. Their show runs the gamut – they cover the latest pop trends, industry news, desert island discs, interview current artists and dissect the classics. It’s a rock and roll geek’s perfect hour of radio. I’m a few weeks behind and the show I listened to today on my way to Jerusalem was a gem. They interviewed the founders of the Numero Group, a Chicago-based label who hunt down and reissue obscure albums that never got the audience they deserved. They focused primarily on soul and I was seriously digging the interview as well as the music. There was something about the feel of the tunes that matched the gloomy weather as well as my gloomy mood. I was in the zone. I was feeling it. And then BAM, my ears perk up when they mention “Soul Messages from Dimona,” an obscure compilation that was released in the late seventies. The Black Hebrews, a group of African-Americans who moved en masse to Israel in the seventies, have been supporting their community in Dimona for years with profits from their music. I must have been at least a dozen weddings where members of their community have performed and have seen other performances elsewhere but I had absolutely no idea that this album existed. It’s something special. It’s an incredible amalgamation of funk, soul, gospel, and a smidgen of psychedelia. The music blogosphere has universally praised it and the always biting and not too generous pitchforkmedia gave it a very rare high rating. This is a *must buy* for all fans of soul and an interesting part of Israeli history. And here I thought I knew everything about this country.