Friday, April 24, 2015

Gospel Juke Box Hits

I've been diggin' early gospel for a number of years now, but still don't know about a lot of the people
involved, so I dig these cool, reasonably-priced box sets. This 4-CD compilation isn't all stellar - I'm still mostly a sucker for the racous, jumpin'n'praisin' - but it does have some fantastic stuff and was well worth the money!

I do love early Staples Singers (actually, all of their career is pretty terrific) and they, rightfully, open this set with "This May Be the Last Time" - obviously where the Stones got their title for their less-than-religious hit song. This is followed by the soulful preachin' of the Highway QC's, some almost country corniess by the Prophets, the righteous harmonizing of the Five Blind Boys and the Harmonizing Four, the energetic sermonizin' from the Mighty Clouds of Joy and their band, the solemn Wilhelmena Fernandez, the soul-pop of the Platters (who also get pretty darn funky later), the rockin' "Can I Get a Witness"-soundin' "Thank the Lord" from the Blind Boys of Mississippi, and some fine return cuts from most of the above. All this on the first CD!

The other 3 CDs mostly contain the same artists - with a few extra guests - and are all pretty exceptional, overall. This is a superior compilation, showing many of the different facets of real gospel music. Well worth it!