Various Artists

Gospel, Vol. 4: Sisters & Divas 1943-1951

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The fourth volume in Fremeaux's excellent series of gospel compilations includes 40 tracks from an array of stunning gospel females both celebrated and rather ignored. On the celebrated side you find Rosetta Tharpe, Dorothy Love Coates, Mahalia Jackson, Sallie Martin, Willie Mae Ford Smith, and Wynona Carr -- as impressive a roster of important and influential gospel women at mid-century as a listener could ever hope to find in one set. The obscure artists are nearly equally impressive, with tracks from Marie Knight ("What Could I Do") and Mary Deloach ("I Really Believe"). The format of including two tracks from most of the artists on tap works very well, allowing listeners to sample more than just a single performance, and the booklet includes many photos as well as copious notes (in English as well).

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