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Various Artists: When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936 [Slipcase]

Track List

>On Jordan's Stormy Bank We Stand - Seventh Day Adventists Choir
>Glory! Glory! Hallelujeh - McCollum's Sanctified Singers
>Fight On Your Time Ain't Long - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>Let Jesus Lead You - The Jubilee Gospel Team
>Preaching With Singing - Elder Oscar Saunders
>I'll Be Rested (When the Roll is Called) - Roosevelt Graves and Brother
>Hiding Behind the Stuff - Rev. A.W. Nix
>Let That Lie Alone - Rev. Edward Clayborn
>Devil is a Fisherman, The - Rev. T.E. Weems
>Oh Lord I'm Your Child - McCollum's Sanctified Singers
>Abraham Have Mercy On Me - Reverend William Ransom
>Father I Stretch My Hands Up To Thee - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>I Wish My Mother Was On That Train - Emma Taggart/Blind Joe
>Dead Cat On the Line - Reverend J.M. Gates
>You Gotta Live Your Religion Every Day - Laurel (Mississippi) Fireman's Quartette
>Rejoicing On the Way - Fa-So-La Singers
>Canaan's Land - Blind Gussie Nesbit
>Everybody Will Be Happy Over There - Elder Oscar Saunders
>Jesus Will Make It All Right - Rev. Edward Clayborn
>Heaven Belongs To You - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>Lord I'm the True Vine - Eddie Head and His Family
>Jonah In the Wilderness - Henry Thomas
>Angels Rolled the Stone Away - Rev D.C. Rice
>Pure Religion - Blind Gussie Nesbit
>I Love Thy Church O Lord - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>Stations Will Be Changed - The Jubilee Gospel Team
>When I Take My Vacation In Heaven - Mother McCollum
>What the Men Wanted the Women Was Sitting On - Rev. Emmett Dickinson
>Train Your Child - Washington Phillips
>He Shall Speak For Himself - Reverend William Ransom
>I Heard the Angels Singing - Rev. Edward Clayborn
>Day is Past and Gone, The - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>I Know the Lord Has Laid His Hands On Me - The Jubilee Gospel Team
>Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jesw - Rev. J.C. Burnett
>I Won't Have To Cross Jordan Alone - Laurel (Mississippi) Fireman's Quartette
>I'll Be Satisfied - Emma Taggart/Blind Joe
>Blessed Be the Tie That Binds - Primitive Baptist Choir Of North Carolina
>I Shall Not Be Moved - Rev. Edward Clayborn
>Don't Know When Old Death Will Call For Me - The Jubilee Gospel Team
>Great Day of His Wrath Has Come - Rev. J.C. Burnett
>I Want To See Him - Mother McCollum
>Going To Hell & Who Cares - Rev. A.W. Nix

Album Reviews:

Pitchfork (Website) - "WHEN I REACH THAT HEAVENLY SHORE offers a glimpse of gospel's early calls and responses, its first hallelujahs and amens."

Album Notes

Audio Remasterer: Christopher King.

Liner Note Author: Christopher King.

Many of the 42 tracks collected here, 34 of which are being digitally re-introduced to the world, don't sound much like gospel, at least not in the modern sense of the word. Recorded between 1926 and 1936, and done for commercial labels, these are really pre-gospel pieces, religious and sacred songs done in blues, street jazz, choral, and other styles, and some of them are simply passionately delivered proto-rap-like rhythmic sermons. Modern gospel as a distinct musical genre had yet to be codified, and what we really have here are the roots of all that. There's a little bit of everything, from unclassifiable artists like Henry Thomas, a black Texas street singer who played his guitar like a banjo, self-accompanied by quills (pan pipes), to East Texas street evangelist Washington Phillips, who played two self-made zithers simultaneously to deliver an eerie, celestial sound behind his personalized hymns and sermons. There's also guitarist Roosevelt Graves and his amazingly talented tambourine-playing brother Uaroy delivering a spirited "I'll Be Rested When the Roll Is Called," which is a bit unnerving, like hearing early rock & roll from another planet. There are gutsy blues sides here, and shape-note singing, black barbershop quartets, fiery street corner sermons, and the complete recorded works of the Primitive Baptist Choir of North Carolina. It adds up to a strange, invigorating, haunting, and otherworldly listening experience, a bit like taking a time-travel musical tour of a world we've almost lost the means to comprehend. Drawn and assembled from the personal collection of Grammy-winning engineer and record producer Christopher King, who has also put together similar collections covering the blues of Charley Patton, Greek folk violin, and other pre-war obscurities, and is a part of the Paramount Records comprehensive reissue project, When I Reach That Heavenly Shore is a wonderful restoration of a little-known part of America's musical past, and it has the power to awaken astonishment. ~ Steve Leggett


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