Dig Deep…For The Eclipse!: Charles Mingus – Mingus Revisited – Limelight (1965)


Total Solar Eclipse over Sublimity, Oregon - 08-21-17

Total Solar Eclipse over Sublimity, Oregon – 08-21-17 foto © Michael Barnes

Charles Mingus – Eclipse
CHarles Mingus – Half Mast Inhibition
Charles Mingus – Prayer For Passive Resistance

I swear I’d shared this Mingus record before, but search as I might, it seems I haven’t. This was originally released as “Pre-Bird Mingus” and there’s another Limelight pressing of “Revisited,” but this is the one to search for. As with the Rahsaan record shared earlier in the month, this was part of this exceptionally beautifully crafted Limelight series, each unique in their own ways. There’s no doubt why this album has been on my mind of late, and that’s because of the Solar Eclipse that is arriving here in the U.S. on my birthday! “Eclipse,” like the celestial event it is named for, is a rare vocal tune written by Mingus, and sung hauntingly by Lorraine Cousins.

Eclipse – Written By Charles Mingus

Eclipse, when the Moon meets the Sun,
Eclipse, these bodies become as one,
People all around, eyes look up and frown,
For it’s a sight they seldom see,
Some look through smoked glasses, hiding their eyes,
Others think it’s tragic, staring as dark returns,
But the Sun doesn’t care,
And the Moon knows no fear,
Destiny’s making the choice,

Eclipse, the Moon has met the Sun,
Eclipse, two loves, Sad Child, as One,

But the Sun doesn’t care,
And the Moon knows no fear,
For Destiny’s making the choice,

Eclipse, the Moon has met the Sun,
Eclipse, two loves are joined as one.

Though most of the album finds Mingus squarely within his “Duke Ellington Gone Insane” style, it does also feature are fairly rare step towards “Classical Art Music,” with “Half-Mast Inhibition,” where Mingus makes great use of one of his largest recorded ensembles, a 20+ group, including Eric Doplphy, Booker Ervin and Yusef Lateef.

As this was recorded in 1960, it also features one of Mingus’ earliest protest songs connected to the struggle for Civil Rights, “Prayer for Passive Resistance.” Musically, this stands as one of the most interesting dates in Mingus’ discography, visually it is a rare treat indeed, especially with all the different portraits of Mingus, in his various moods.

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