Following on from the staggering surveys This May Be My Last Time Singing and Fire In My Bones, Tompkins Square's newest gospel reissue shines a light on pianist Arizona Dranes, a woman whose blending of the Pentecostal and the secular in the mid-'20s on a series of test-pressing 78s would have been fit for inclusion on Harry Smith's Anthology Of American Folk Music alongside any of its hallowed "Social Music" sanctified singing sides, were Smith to have been hipped to it in the '50s.
"The story of —a passionate and skilled performer, driven in her case by her deep and abiding faith, only sporadically recorded and eventually passing in obscurity. is a familiar story of reissue and reappreciation well after the fact, down to the extensive liner notes—in this case, a full book—and expert remastering; there's no question that the sheer joy and power she exhibits is worth the listening. Essentially the question is simply this: why wouldn't anyone want to sound like this, if given the chance or the calling?" - Allmusicis that of too many artists in American history
"The Chicago studio where Dranes recorded her music in 1926 no longer exists, but when she played her music at Roberts Temple, she influenced people like 11-year-old Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who sat in the congregation and would go on to become a gospel superstar. "I mean, it was probably like hearing Jimi Hendrix for the first time," says music writer Michael Corcoran, who has uncovered as much of Dranes' lost history as anyone ever has for this CD. "There was nothing like it before. She really was the first person to take secular styles and put words of praise on top of them to make gospel music."- NPR