Formed in 1914, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Quintette also operated as the C. & M.A. Gospel Singers and the Cleveland Coloured Gospel Quintette, and during more than 20 years toured extensively throughout the northeastern United States and all across Canada as well as England, Scotland, and Northern Europe. They have been almost entirely omitted from the discographical omnibus Blues and Gospel Records 1902-1943, wherein they are dismissively described as "a black group...whose work has little distinctively black content." Fortunately, the Document label put together an entire CD devoted to this group and filled out the second volume of their Pace Jubilee Singers retrospective with four additional C. & M.A. sides as "...important reminders that Black musical expression in the early 20th century was far more complex than is generally thought." Organized by John H. Parker and directed by Floyd H. Lacy, this vocal harmony group sang its devotional songs in a manner that sounds today similar to the late-19th century style that has since become largely associated with the barber shop harmony tradition. Tracks one through ten were waxed in June 1923 for the un-numbered Columbia Personal series and were exclusively peddled at revival meetings in Toronto, while tracks 11 through 24 date from 1924-1925. This collection closes with two recordings released under Lacy's name; "The Devil's No Relation at All" is a carefully worded attack on Darwinism. Lacy sings in duet with his wife, Lillie, accompanied by violin, cello, and piano. Although the photograph on the cover gives the false impression that the singers will be heard with saxophones, peck horn, and trombone, accompaniments on this collection are limited to piano and the aforementioned strings as well as autoharp, viola, banjo, and banjolele.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf