Alan Lomax

Deep River of Song: South Carolina - Got the Keys to the Kingdom

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Deep River of Song: South Carolina - Got the Keys to the Kingdom Review

by Steve Leggett

John Lomax, Alan Lomax, and Ruby Lomax made numerous aluminum and acetate disc recordings in the Gullah enclave of South Carolina's Murrells Inlet between 1934 and 1939, where a distinct tradition of unaccompanied spirituals and work songs was still predominant. The fragments collected weren't gospel, but real spirituals, and they frequently sound not only measured but also gently mournful, resigned as much as they are cautiously invested in the prospect of a better world beyond this one. There are surprisingly (or maybe not) only semantic differences and few melodic ones between the straight spirituals and the work songs, and in the right hands, one could pass for the other. Both forms, it would seem, deal in the possibility of redemption, and both use roads, trains, and in some cases, chariots as metaphoric transformational vehicles. This haunting, understated set is fleshed out by the addition of similarly themed field recordings done at Reid State Farm, a South Carolina prison, where the concept of a better world awaiting and the prospect of eventual redemption were undoubtedly taken quite literally. With the contents really all of a piece, it is difficult to single out individual tracks here, but "Leprosy (Nicodemus)," sung byZack Knox, "Got the Keys to the Kingdom," sung by Lillie Knox, and "Ain't But the One Train Run This Track (All Night Long)," sung by D.W. White & the Pearson's Funeral Home Choir, are particularly poignant.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Alan Lomax feat: Albertina Keith / Lillie Knox / Martha Wright 03:20 Amazon
2
Alan Lomax feat: Hannah Besselieu / Mittie Docter 02:07 Amazon
3
Alan Lomax feat: Lillie Knox / Martha Wright 01:14 Amazon
4
Alan Lomax feat: Hannah Besselieu / Mittie Docter 01:35 Amazon
5
Alan Lomax feat: Francis Gadsden / Michael Maybank / Esau Sands / John White 01:50 Amazon
6
Alan Lomax feat: Francis Gadsden / Michael Maybank / Esau Sands / John Simmons / John White 03:59 Amazon
7
Alan Lomax feat: Lillie Knox / Thelma Knox 02:10 Amazon
8
Alan Lomax feat: Zack Knox 01:09 Amazon
9
Alan Lomax feat: Zack Knox 02:49 Amazon
10
Alan Lomax feat: Zack Knox 01:27 Amazon
11
Alan Lomax feat: Congregation Of Jerusalem Baptist Church / Lillie Knox / Martha Wright 01:33 Amazon
12
Alan Lomax feat: Elsie Jenkins 02:35 Amazon
13
Alan Lomax feat: Elsie Jenkins / D.W. White 01:51 Amazon
14
Alan Lomax feat: Lillie Knox 02:00 Amazon
15
Alan Lomax feat: Zack Knox 02:20 Amazon
16
Alan Lomax feat: Lillie Knox / Thelma Knox 02:56 Amazon
17
Alan Lomax feat: Minnie Floyd / John A. Lomax 02:13 Amazon
18
Alan Lomax feat: Lillie Knox 02:23 Amazon
19
Alan Lomax feat: Tina Russell 01:32 Amazon
20
Alan Lomax feat: Cecil Owens / Edmond Owens / Martha Owens / Robert Owens 00:46 Amazon
21
Alan Lomax feat: Francis Gadsden / Michael Maybank / Esau Sands / John White 01:25 Amazon
22
Alan Lomax feat: Jim Williams Group 01:52 Amazon
23
Alan Lomax feat: Julius Harnon / William Ivey Long / Luther Mack / Tommy Miller 03:13 Amazon
24
Alan Lomax feat: Unidentified Prison Group 01:28 Amazon
25
Alan Lomax feat: Willie James Skinner 02:17 Amazon
26
Alan Lomax feat: Jim Williams Group 02:15 Amazon
27
Alan Lomax feat: Jim Williams Group 02:54 Amazon
28
Alan Lomax feat: Elsie Jenkins / D.W. White 03:15 Amazon
29
Alan Lomax feat: Elsie Jenkins / D.W. White 02:11 Amazon
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