This collection could just as easily and perhaps more accurately have been called "Postwar Gospel Guitar." That's because each of the 25 performances are driven by guitars in the hands of devoutly religious women. Guitarist Emma Daniels and tambourine-toting Mother Sally Jones were affiliated with the Atlanta, GA chapter of the Church of God in Christ and recorded in New York as the Two Gospel Keys during the years 1946-1953. Their duets are inspired and inspiring, most especially "We're Gonna Have a Good Time," an ecstatic ritual promising joy in the afterlife with the words "gonna meet my mother over there." Sister O.M. Terrell lived in Greenville, SC but may have resided in Charleston when she recorded "Life Is a Problem" and "How Long" there in 1948. Terrell played what sounds like a National steel guitar, and on these two tracks, the instrument is marvelously over-amplified. Although "How Long" is an admonition to stop sinning as opposed to a cover of Leroy Carr's famous slow drag, Terrell's persuasive voice and guitar technique convey all the potency of the finest Delta or eastern blues. Six Columbia records cut in Nashville, TN on February 19, 1953 are equally impressive. Even as comparisons with Sister Rosetta Tharpe are inevitable, Sister Terrell had her own thing going on, and really deserves to be better known. The direct emotional current conveyed by her voice and instrument suggests something in common with both Rev. Gary Davis and (for skillful guitar work and sheer devotional intensity) Blind Willie Johnson. Terrell also compares favorably with her Virginia-based contemporary Mary Deloatch, also known as blueswoman Marilyn Scott (see Document 5588: Carolina Blues & Gospel).
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf