Mudcat Café message #344855 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27935   Message #344855
Posted By: Stewie
21-Nov-00 - 08:09 PM
Thread Name: Recommend? Early Black Gospel Records?
Subject: RE: Recommend? Early Black Gospel Records?
I second Dick's recommendation for 'A Warrior on the Battlefield' and the 4 Yazoos mentioned by Sandy - bear in mind that the latter contain white artists as well as black. Here are a few other good'uns:

Various Artists 'The Gospel Sound' Columbia/Legacy C2K 57160. This is a fine 2 CD set compiled and annotated by gospel guru Tony Heilbut. Disc 1 relates mostly to the 20s and 30s, and disc 2 relates to 50s and 60s.

Various Artists 'Preachin' the Gospel: Holy Blues' Columbia/Legacy CK 46779. This is one of the Roots 'N Blues series. It relates mostly to individual artists, ranging from Arizona Dranes and Sister O.M. Terrel to Blind Willie Johnson and Josh White.

Various Artists 'American Primitive Vol 1: Pre-war Gospel (1926-36)' Revenant CD 206. This is a truly magnificent set on John Fahey's Revenant label. The amazing 'Holy Mountain' by Elder Otis Jones and his congregation alone is worth the price of admission. It has great tracks from William and Versey Smith, Blind Roosevelt Graves and Brother, Blind Joe Taggart etc. The sound is a bit ropey at times, but that is only to be expected given the rarity of the originals. Don't miss this one - gems like this never last indefinitely.

Various Artists 'Get Right With God: Hot Gospel' Gospel Heritage HTCD 01. This is not pre-war, but truly wonderful stuff. It collects on a single CD, 2 LPs that were on this English label - Interstate Music Ltd PO Box 74 Crawley, West Sussex RH11 0LX England.

Various Artists 'Somebody Touched Me' Nugrape CD-01.
Various Artists 'Living Humble - A Gospel Compilation' Nugrape CD-07.
These are beaut offerings from a one-man Australian operation. He reissues 78s from his collection on CD - no notes or discography, but excellent sound - Selah Jubilee Quartet, Paramount Singers, National Clouds of Joy, Golden Eagle Gospel Singers, Nugrape Twins etc. Some great rarities here also. You will find an email address, information and great links here: Nugrape Records

Blind Willie Johnson 'The Complete' Columbia Roots 'N Blues Series 472190-2. This double CD set has to be in any collection of black gospel. Forget about the Yazoo reissues of Johnson - they come nowhere near this sound quality.

Shanachie have some fine sets - 'Great Gospel Men', 'Great Gospel Women' etc - but relate mostly to post-war period.

Peter, for an introduction to black gospel, you cannot do better than seek out Tony Heilbut 'The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times' New York, Simon and Schuster and Paul Oliver 'Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records' Cambridge University Press.

--Stewie.