153

Various: Rare & Red Hot Gospel

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Pre-War gospel is one of the most emotively charged forms of expression in the American musical diaspora. There’s something indescribably moving about a singer or congregation shouting out devotion to a higher spirit regardless of denomination. It’s a music that communicates across religious, social and demographic boundaries and can stir the emotions in sanctified and secular listeners alike. The cross-section of styles and artists tied together on this recent Catfish compilation demonstrates beautifully how such music can transcend earthly ascribed cultural boundaries and speak to a larger purpose.

Twenty-one selections explore a the myriad of traditions, but the emphasis remains firmly planted in African American strains of religious expression. Accompaniment ranges from lone acoustic guitar, as in the case of Gary Davis, to the calliope-like sounds of Washington Phillips homemade dulceola, but vocals are commonly the driving force behind the songs. Topics range from temperance (“Drinking Shine”) to Holy Ghost fever (“I’m On the Way to the Kingdom Land”) and a whole host of faiths are represented. One strange omission is the dearth of Blind Willie Johnson, one of the most powerful and protean gospel stylists of the Pre-War era. Fortunately folks like Blind Reverend Gary Davis and Charley Patton make strong appearances to at least partially fill the gap left by his absence. The handful of holiness vocal groups that testify shared devotion through richly shaped harmonies are also of high interest. Other artists like the lone Blind Joe Taggert prefer the solitary pulpit voicing their commitment to God with simple guitar and rousing voice. These are truly timeless sounds, fully charged with spirit and conviction, two increasingly rare qualities in today’s music. The generous appearance of both here makes these recordings all the more valuable.

Catfish on the web: http://www.catfishrecords.co.uk/


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" CD/LP/Track Review Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.