Jerry Moore, Ballad Of Birmingham

Ron Wynn

By Ron Wynn

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Ballad Of Birmingham

Jerry Moore

Here's a classic case of a great release coming from a most unexpected source. Moore did a number of reasonably effective soul and blues singles on regional labels, then recorded this seven-track concept work for the legendary bohemian New York label ESP Disk, best known for '60s underground rock bands like the Fugs, the Godz and Pearls Before Swine. Ballad of Birmingham contains several remarkable protest and topical tunes, each sung with grit and conviction. The title song revisits the horrible bombing incident in 1963 that killed four little girls, while "Winds of Change" offers hope and inspiration to those battling for justice, and "Life Is a Constant Journey" takes almost a folkie musical approach while discussing the impact of fate and personal decisions. Like so many other remarkable ESP releases, this one got limited distribution and remains a collector's oddity, although it still stands as a fine piece of singer/songwriter commentary and vocal polemic.