This wonderful set of period gospel tracks ranging from the 1920s through the mid-'50s from Document Records has all the proof you'll ever need that gospel was instrumental in the creation of rock & roll, R&B, doo wop, soul, and even rap and hip-hop, as track after track clatters along on explosive rhythms and inventive vocal arrangements. It's also obvious here how much gospel and the blues cross-pollinated each other through the decades, moving in tandem like two sides of the same coin. Check out the energetic trashcan rhythm of Anthony Butler's "My God Is a Mighty Man" or Rev. Kelsey's free-form rap sermon on "I'm a Witness for the Lord" to hear the roots of the hip-hop generation. Rev. Robert Ballinger manages to create a kind of rockabilly/jazz hybrid with his version of "This Train," while Mary Deloatch's "The Lord's Gospel Train" is nothing short of bluesy rock & roll. Then there are the amazing vocal simulations of the Wright Brothers Gospel Singers, who literally create the sound of an engine approaching with their voices on "Gospel Train" (there are a whole lot of communal trains roaring through this collection, a metaphor that links these sides to the era in which they were recorded -- in time cars would become more dominant in songs as the 20th century marched on and away from community and toward increased personal insularity). Other gems here include Elder Charles Beck's jazzy and swinging "Didn't It Rain" and the great Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey's off-the-cuff vocal on "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again." Mighty Day is a delightful compilation that lifts the spirit and sets the feet moving -- no matter what one's philosophical or spiritual denomination might be.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett