Various Artists

Word from the Pulpit: Spiritual Grooves from the Vaults of Atlantic and War

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The superb and enlightening Word From the Pulpit mines the soul, jazz, and gospel arms of the vast WB/Atlantic vaults to compile the labels' best spiritual songs from the Civil Rights Era -- and forget your prejudices about religious music, because this stuff brings the groove just as much as it brings the God. The material veers between vocal and instrumental tracks, not to mention shifting back and forth between slow-burning gospel and foot-stomping funk -- the arrangements and rhythms are consistently surprising, and not at all what your average listener might expect. Equally revelatory are the lyrics: the songs burn with a righteous passion that's never self-righteous -- all soul, no sanctimony. Highlights include Myrna Summers' "Prayed and I Prayed," Yusef Lateef's "Live Humble," the Morning Star Gospel Singers' "I'll Be So Glad When I Get Home," Clifford Jordan's "Silver City Bound," and the Stovall Sisters' "Hang On in There."

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