Various Artists

Roots of Black Gospel [CD3]

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The third volume in the discount Disky series that has also been compiled into a three-disc box, Roots of Black Gospel has many of the same problems as the first two, despite a slight improvement. The Golden Gate Quartet, one of the most innovative groups in the genre, is rewarded with far too many songs for an introductory treatment of this type, and there's too much emphasis on also-ran groups -- the Alphabetical Four makes its second repeat appearance. More so than the other volumes, however, this one includes some excellent material from a pair of blues-gospel mainstays (Josh White's "Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed" and Blind Gary Davis' "Lord I Wish I Could See") plus many of the best groups in church history: the Soul Stirrers, the Pilgrim Travelers, and the already-mentioned Golden Gate Quartet. Highlights include "Swing Down, Chariot" by the Golden Gate, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" by Paul Robeson, and "Stretch Out" by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight.

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