Various Artists

Southern Journey, Vol. 4: Brethren, We Meet Again

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This volume of the Southern Journey series focuses on Southern White spirituals recorded in 1959, including hymns, gospel, Sacred Harp singing, and some spoken testimony. If that sounds daunting to listeners who do not engage in fervent religious observance, Protestant and otherwise, be aware that the emotional qualities of the singing outweigh any reticence one might have regarding the lyrical focus. As in all the Southern Journey volumes, care is taken to present a diverse, well-programmed set that offers gospel congregations, harmony singers, and guitar-accompanied ballads that sound more at home on the front porch than the pulpit. It's about as accessible to the general listener, in fact, as any such collection could be, with some cuts (like Ruby Vass' "The Old Gospel Ship" and Almeda Riddle's "I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger") sounding like clear antecedents of the folk revival of 1950s and '60s.

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