Various Artists

Spreading the Word: Early Gospel Recordings

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Spreading the Word: Early Gospel Recordings Review

by Stewart Mason

Yet another of JSP's exhaustive budget-priced box sets of public domain recordings, Spreading the Word: Early Gospel Recordings provides just what the title promises, 105 tracks' worth of traditional African-American gospel recordings from 1926 to 1950. Listeners who know their history will already be familiar with some of the material here, such as the complete 16-song oeuvre of the Dallas-based blind mestiza singer/pianist Arizona Dranes that opens the first of these four discs, but much of this material will be new to all but the most devoted collectors of the style. Rarities like Luther Magby's strangely jaunty organ showcase "Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit," the Holy Ghost Sanctified Singers' "Jesus Throwed Up a Highway for Me" (a song that '70s AM radio enthusiasts will note sounds startlingly similar to Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime"), and Sister Mary M. Nelson's scarifying "The Royal Telephone" sound great next to more familiar songs like Washington Phillips' idiosyncratic country blues-derived two-part single "Denomination Blues." The liner notes are sketchy, understandably so given the casual circumstances under which many of these songs were no doubt recorded, and it must be said that even a decent remastering job can't do much when your source material is coming from rapidly deteriorating 78s, but Spreading the Word: Early Gospel Recordings is of interest to musical and spiritual historians alike.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 George Washington Phillips 02:54 SpotifyAmazon
2 George Washington Phillips 03:11 SpotifyAmazon
3 George Washington Phillips 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
4
George Washington Phillips 03:27 SpotifyAmazon
5 George Washington Phillips 03:04 SpotifyAmazon
6 George Washington Phillips 02:36 SpotifyAmazon
7 George Washington Phillips 03:03 SpotifyAmazon
8
George Washington Phillips 03:05 SpotifyAmazon
9
George Washington Phillips 02:51 SpotifyAmazon
10 George Washington Phillips 03:16 SpotifyAmazon
11
George Washington Phillips 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
12
George Washington Phillips 03:06 SpotifyAmazon
13 George Washington Phillips 02:51 SpotifyAmazon
14 George Washington Phillips 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
15 George Washington Phillips 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
16
George Washington Phillips 03:03 SpotifyAmazon
17
Bessie Johnson 03:07 SpotifyAmazon
18
Bessie Johnson 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
19
Bessie Johnson 03:14 SpotifyAmazon
20
Bessie Johnson 03:00 SpotifyAmazon
21
Bessie Johnson 02:50 SpotifyAmazon
22 Bessie Johnson 02:58 SpotifyAmazon
23
Brother Williams Memphis Sanctified Singers 02:47 SpotifyAmazon
24
Brother Williams Memphis Sanctified Singers 02:42 SpotifyAmazon
25
Texas Jubilee Singers 02:55 SpotifyAmazon
26
Texas Jubilee Singers 02:59 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Elder Richard Bryant 03:15
2
Elder Richard Bryant 03:03
3
Elder Richard Bryant 03:05
4
Elder Richard Bryant 03:05
5
Elder Richard Bryant 03:05
6
Elder Richard Bryant 02:49
7
Elder Richard Bryant 03:29
8
Elder Richard Bryant 03:39
9
Elder Richard Bryant 03:29
10
Elder Richard Bryant 03:21
11 Luther Magby 03:08
12
Luther Magby 03:06
13 Rev. Johnny Blakey 03:16
14 Rev. Johnny Blakey 03:07
15 Rev. Johnny Blakey 03:20
16
Rev. Johnny Blakey 03:26
17
Southern Sanctified Singers 02:59
18
Southern Sanctified Singers 03:09
19
Professor Johnson & His Gospel Singers 02:28
20 Professor Johnson 02:50
21 Keith Johnson & the Spiritual Voices 02:16
22
Professor Johnson 02:10
23
Sister Lotta Peavey 02:41
24
Sister Lotta Peavey 02:41
25
Rev. E.S. "Shy" Moore 03:01
26
Rev. E.S. "Shy" Moore 02:59

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 02:56
2
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 03:17
3
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 03:11
4
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 03:15
5
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 03:12
6
The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers 03:02
7
Jessie May Hill 03:14
8
Jessie May Hill 03:02
9
Jessie May Hill 02:47
10
Jessie May Hill 02:50
11
Jessie May Hill 02:57
12 Jessie May Hill 02:46
13
Jessie May Hill 02:56
14
Goldia Haynes 02:49
15
Goldia Haynes 02:12
16
Goldia Haynes 02:50
17
Goldia Haynes 02:50
18
Goldia Haynes 02:34
19
Goldia Haynes 02:32
20
Laura Henton 02:58 SpotifyAmazon
21
Laura Henton 03:17
22
Laura Henton 03:03
23
Laura Henton 02:44
24
Laura Henton 02:46
25
Laura Henton 02:59
26
Rev. Joe Lenley 02:56
27
Rev. Joe Lenley 02:48
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