The Dixie Hummingbirds

Diamond Jubilation—75th Anniversary

Black gospel music from the quartet or quintet tradition is usually pretty heavenly; the only sound closer to the throne is probably a mass choir. But combining such sonic heaven with an earthbound rhythm section can be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, the current lineup of this venerable quintet, with lead vocals by Ira Tucker Sr. and William Bright, matches up pretty nicely with a company of backup musicians that includes Dr. John, along with Levon Helm and Garth Hudson, both of the classic Americana outfit the Band. The music is swell, from genre classics like Dorothy Love Coates’ “I’ve Been Born Again” to bluesy numbers like Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Too Many Troubles.” Ever heard the old saw “it doesn’t get any better than this”? This 11-song set comes pretty close.