Various Artists

Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs & Ballads

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Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs & Ballads is -- beginning to end -- the strongest collection of such field-recorded material focused on work songs available, as of its release in 1998. In addition to recordings of chain-gang work songs, other raw, moving material heard on this compilation includes moans, a congregational shout that borders on the ecstatic, and sprirtuals that swell with harmony and emotion. State Penitentiary and State Farm prisoners sing work songs that may sound familiar, since many were adopted by blues artists. This treasure of a recording captures unequaled passion, pain and strength; it is absolutely essential for fans of not only early blues, but early roots music of any kind.

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