Various Artists

Sorrow Come Pass Me Around: A Survey of Rural Black Religious Music

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That southern gospel, when mixed in with country and blues, became a powerful ingredient in what would become R&B, soul, rock and most of modern pop music, is hardly a secret. It took Saturday night and Sunday morning to put all of that together, so to speak, but gospel music, or spiritual and religious music, anyway, was hardly off limits to blues performers working southern juke joints and rent parties, and church music and the blues spent a lot more time together than most folks realize. This compilation of field recordings proves the point. Recorded between 1965 and 1973 by a team headed by David Murray (a team which also included guitarist John Fahey), it features 16 gospel and spiritual songs performed in living rooms, back porches and other non-church settings, most of them done by musicians generally assumed to be blues players. At the field level featured here, the difference between the blues and gospel is shown to be slight, and that difference is mostly lyrical. One can't help but be reminded that it is generally critics, researchers, and scholars who insist on categorizing such things into separate tropes, when, after all, musicians and their audiences are more concerned with how it sounds than what it is. This rough, engaging, and revealingly rustic set of field recordings was originally released on LP in 1975 by a small label called Advent Productions, and was reissued years later on CD in the digital era by Dust-To-Digital in 2013.

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