Smithsonian Folkways: Classic African American Gospel

Smithsonian Folkways: Classic African American Gospel


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This marvelous set from Smithsonian Folkways includes samples of the various trace sources that eventually crystallized into what became known as gospel in the 19th century, including an assortment of spirituals, choir performances, shout bands, vocal quartets, and guitar preachers, emerging as both a history lesson and as an expressive and even at times explosive listening experience. There's so much to be amazed at here, like Horace Sprott's moving version of "Jesus Going to Make My Dying Bed," the spry, infectious rendition of "You Got to Move" by the Two Gospel Keys (Emma Daniels and Mother Sally Jones), Dock Reed's dark, expressive, and unaccompanied vocal on "Low Down Death Right Easy" and Mary Pickney's perfectly poised voice on the "moaning" spiritual "Been in the Storm So Long." Somehow both varied and unified at once, this collection is essentially a sampler for the vast gospel offerings in the Smithsonian Folkways archives, and each selection leads off to another album the label offers, a clear benefit in this case. Although the term gospel is often applied to all religious music, gospel proper emerged early in the 19th century as a clear attempt to fuse spirituals and church music with the rhythms, arrangements, and approach of pop music in order to reach a larger audience while still retaining the intimacy and power of its musical roots. Gospel, of course, then begat modern soul, and by extension, the whole world of urban dance music, so the roots presented here are in part responsible for a much larger tree than just modern gospel. It's a fascinating world to explore, and this Smithsonian Folkways sampler is the perfect place to start.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/29/2008
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074019429
catalogNumber: 40194
Rank: 21149

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Little Brother Montgomery   Piano,Vocals
Elizabeth Cotten   Banjo,Vocals
George Lewis   Clarinet
Bunk Johnson   Trumpet
Alton Purnell   Piano
Jim Robinson   Trombone
Dock Reed   Vocals
Baby Dodds   Drums
Panama Francis   Drums
Huddie Ledbetter   Guitar,Vocals
Laurence Marrero   Banjo
Brother John Sellers   Vocals
Sonny Terry   Harmonica,Vocals
Prof. Herman Stevens   Piano
Lloyd Trotman   Bass
Juanita Johnson   Vocals
Mother Sally Jones   Tambourine,Vocals
Andrew Thrasher   Vocals
Gerhart Thrasher   Vocals
Horace Sprott   Vocals
Mary Pickney   Vocals
Nathaniel Benson   Bass (Vocal)
Joseph "Slow Drag" Pauageau   String Bass
Brother Dathan Williams   Vocals
Davina Wright   Drums
Sister Jennie Jackson   Vocals
Annie L. Fitts   Vocals
Emma Daniels   Guitar,Vocals
Elma Sawyer   Vocals

Technical Credits

Brother John Sellers   Composer
Juanita Johnson   Instrumentation
Kip Lornell   Liner Notes,Introduction,Annotation
Russell Lee   Cover Photo

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