The Florida Mass Choir look resplendent in their robes up on the stage of a big auditorium somewhere in the mid-1980s…but the sound and the theology (which are linked) of this electrifying a capella version of “He’s A Battle Axe” is straight out of Mt. Moriah Primitive Baptist Church—and about a thousand other handbuilt clapboard country churches—in early 20th century.
He’s a battle axe,
In the time of a battle,
A shelter in the time of a storm.
Any time of the day or night, almost all circumstances are improved by Milt Jackson’s vibes…and that goes double when John Coltrane is guesting as he does here on Jackson’s “The Late Late Blues”.
Like Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” (also released in 1957), Little Richard’s “Lucille” give you some appreciation for the perspective of the censors of the day who were sure that rock & roll was leading the youth of America straight down the path to moral degeneracy.
Not to mention inspiring two generations of singers to try (unsuccessfully!) to duplicate that thing he does with his voice at the end of the second syllable.