What can I say about Pastor Corbin that hasn't been said already. To the uninitiated, Pastor Gary Corbin is an old fashioned Hell-Fire-and-Brimstone-Suthern-Babtist preacher. One of a dying breed (north of Tennesse, that is). The genuine article. Accept no imitations. Unlike the kinder gentler politically correct preachers that have recently come on the scene in great numbers within yuppie suburban churchdom, Pastor Corbin is not afraid to tell it like it is (whatever it may be). From what I hear, he has been coming to Harvard Square every Saturday night, rain or shine, for the last ten or fifteen years.
In typical street preacher fashion, he screams really really loud. He reads verses from his big, heavily highlighted bible (Much of it is out of context and repeated over and over again). His vocal performance is rivaled only by his physical one. With each shout, he lunges forward, bible raised high like a swashbuckler on the offensive. With head flug back, and eyes squinted tight, he forces those verses out from the die-uh-framm.
So, after a visit or two, I decided to get in on the act. I first thought about bringing in the heavy artillery, by Hohner 80-bass piano accordion. But, being the wimp that I am, I was afraid of getting busted for playing in the pit without a permit (even though I had no intention of playing for money). I was being investigated at the time for a top-secret clearance (for a job that I later declined) so I didn't want that on my record. I settled for bringing my miniature 1-row diatonic toy button box which was easily stowed into the backpack on short notice. It's not too loud and plays nice tunes on a c-major scale.
While merging into the crowd of hecklers, I tried to think of all the gospel standards I remembered from childhood that could be played in c-major. At first all I could think of were the simple ones like "Jesus Loves Me" and "When we all get to heaven", but later managed "Eternal Father Strong to Save" and "The Bells of St. Mary" (Yeah it's not really gospel but it sounds good, OK?). Little did I know, but my soon to be good friend Ed Brandon was recording samples for his musical project "Guava Cheez". I later learned that my playing had made it into the piece "Sinner with Atrophy", which also featured Pastor Corbin singing "Rock of Ages" very loudly . I have since learned it on my button box, and have played it several times at preacherfest, but alas, the Pastor hasn't sung it again since. C'mon Gary, we want an encore!!