Still Together Again for the First Time
So you’ve no doubt seen that the Crabb Family is back together again, sort of (h/t, DY). A reader writes of this latest reunion gambit, “I can’t get excited about them getting back together cause seems like every year they are at it again. It’s really like they never went away.” Precisely. How can we miss them, I wrote after one of their first post-breakup reunions, if they never go away?
But then again, when the Crabb Family is/was good, they are/were really good. In fact, I’d say that the Crabb Family in its heyday was responsible for one of my most memorable gospel music experiences ever:
Looking around me at the hair buns and make-up-less faces, the long skirts, the almost-missionary zeal in the eyes of the younger guys (not the typical sullenness and punkish bravado of most young, rural males these days), I realize that this is a perfect storm of an sg moment: here’s the one segment of evangelical Christianity - Pentecostalism - that’s growing, excited and enthusiastic about the future of the Christian enterprise, in contrast to the stagnant attendance in most denominations and the political toxicity contaminating so much of the rest of evangelicalism today. And these Christians are here for the most exciting gospel act around right now. I have a tingly moment of my own in which I gloat a little to myself (no chuckling though … that little girl is still hawk-eyeing me, unsure if I may be trusted even yet), because I feel like this auditorium, this evening is confirmation of my hypothesis a few weeks back about the direction of sg’s newest generation of fans. I said they tend to be Pentecostal (as opposed to previous generations of stalwart sg fans who were largely Baptists), and here was a room full of hundreds of Pentecostals, many of them teens, twentysomethings and young couples with kids trying to raise the roof when they weren’t out buying Crabb product all night long (it didn’t hurt the Crabbs were selling any three cd/dvd combination you want for $30). So under these wildfire conditions, “Dontcha Wanna Go” just set the place ablaze straight through to the end of the evening, two songs later. By that time, my ears are aching, literally, but I don’t much care and neither does anyone around me as far as I can tell (and this includes people my grandparents’ age as well as my little girl chaperone). I sneak out before the press of bodies at the doors becomes too much. As I leave, I see the Crabb caravan idling contentedly off in one corner of the lot (facing the highway, not coincidentally) … waiting patiently to carry these gospel itinerants to the next stand, the next night, to the next musical bonfire. Dontcha wanna go .. go .. yes I wanna go .. go .. go …
The full thing’s here.
Usually I’d say this kind of wistful hope about recapturing some grandeur fixed in the amber of memory sounds like so much wasteful go0d-old-daysism, but the fact of the matter is the Crabbs in all their many perpetually reuniting variations have been making music that is often not bad and not infrequently some of the most invigorating stuff out there (see here, for instance). The same reason the Crabb Family couldn’t stay together is the same reason they can’t manage to ever really break things off, which is another way of saying that good gospel music, like pretty much any other kind, requires a certain amount of dysfunction. I’m still ready to go … go …Email this Post