Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Ever since Dust-To-Digital released the Goodbye, Babylon box set of rare 20th century American religious recordings six years ago, the label has continued to unearth hidden treasures of early jazz, Appalachian folk, blues and Tuvan throat singing. This two-disc collection of radio broadcasts from Rev. Johnny L. Jones' Second Mount Olive Baptist Church in Atlanta presents classic gospel at its raw and blazing best. The CDs were culled from more than a thousand tapes that go back to 1957, and while no dates are provided for each track, this traditional music sounds timeless: particularly Jones' impassioned rendition of "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" or the relentless driving beats to "He Didn't Have To Do It But He Did" (a song that r&b fans will recognize as the source of Sam & Dave's "I Thank You"). Along with the music, this collection also offers insights into the other aspects of neighborhood culture: It includes Jones' sermons and his homegrown advertisements for local grocery and furniture thrift stores." -DownBeat
The Wire (p.52) - "As a social document it's eerily naturalistic and present, the poor quality of recording underlining the impression of an eavesdropped gathering."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Included are two dozen soul-stirring, marvellously distinctive songs, sung in a mesmerising, personality-rich style by the charismatic Jones."
Personnel: Rev. Johnny L. Jones (tapes).
Liner Note Author: Rev. Johnny L. Jones.
Photographers: H.C. Williams; Count Jackson.
Starting around the late '50s, Rev. Johnny L. Jones was a minister in Atlanta, broadcasting much of the material from his services on local radio. The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta is a double CD -- two and a half hours' worth, in fact -- of music from tapes in his archives, dotted with a few sermon excerpts and even some commercials from the radio shows. No dates are given for the 41 tracks, and perhaps no documentation exists to keep track of such things, though a note on the back cover states the minister went through 50 years of his tapes for the compilation. What you hear is on the raw and spontaneous side of African-American gospel, the fidelity also sometimes on the raw (though only occasionally outright lo-fi) side, as these are, in a way, field recordings. The vocals are both solo and ensemble, and are usually though not always backed by a small electric band. As is often the case in black gospel, the influence of R&B trends from soul and blues is sometimes heard, though it's not overwhelming. Perhaps owing to the wide span of source material, it's a diverse collection, though the homespun nature of both the recording technology and the performers means these aren't tapes that stand out among the best exponents of the genre. Once in a while there are cuts that come across as a little more appealing to the crossover audience -- like "Sometimes I Feel Like I'm Almost Gone," which almost sounds like a slice of a sweaty live '60s soul revue -- or unusual, like "A Charge to Keep I Have," which has uncommonly mournful call-and-response interchanges. Mostly this is for those who like their gospel unvarnished and straight from the heart. ~ Richie Unterberger