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« ERMA FRANKLIN - Piece Of Her Heart: The Epic & Shout Years | Main | VA - Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 »
Thursday
Nov122009

VA - Fire In My Bones: Raw + Rare + Other-Worldly African-American Gospel 1944-2007

Compared to other forms of music captured in field recordings, there’s something about gospel that needs to be recorded in its natural setting, in God’s home, far away from the sterile confines of recording studios. One could argue that gospel music simply should not be recorded any other way but live, in its natural environment. Anyone who needs further convincing should check The Emotions singing “Peace Be Still” on the classic Wattstax doc, Alan Lomax’s documentation of church services, or better yet, dig into this astounding 3-disc collection of black American gospel before televangelism totally perverted the form. Though not all recorded in the field, the sheer force of these performances make early recordings by Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers, and Mahalia Jackson seem a little mild-mannered. In fact, many of these performances are truer to the rock’n’roll spirit than much of the formulaic end of the blues that, so the cliché goes, spawned rock music. I can’t recommend this enough!

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