Best Street Preacher (2000)

James Kendrick

The fallen in search of a strong dose of that old-time religion should skedaddle posthaste to a particular stretch of strip mall in Hialeah. It's there on most Saturday afternoons, near the corner of East Tenth Avenue and NW 62nd Street, outside the Flamingo Plaza, that you'll find James Kendrick. Respectfully bow your head as he straps on his accordion, assembles his back-up singers, and then proceeds to summon the Holy Spirit. Musicologists might scratch their heads over just where Kendrick picked up his blissfully singular take on the gospel (the accordion isn't exactly a staple of the genre), though a looping flourish with which he often ends songs sounds vaguely New Orleans-ish. When Kendrick hits his stride, however, forcefully pumping away and soulfully imploring, "I want to talk to you, Lord!" the only real response is: "Amen, brother!" Should a particularly loud truck rumble by, well, just sing along a little louder. And, hey, don't forget the collection plate.

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