American Primitive, Vol. 1: Raw Pre-War Gospel (1926-36) available on May 30 2015 from Amazon for 16.98
UPC bar code 630814020620 ξ1 registered September 18 2015
UPC bar code 630814020620 ξ2 registered November 09 2014
Product category is Audio
Manufacturered by Revenant Records
Product size is 0"x0"x0"
Product weight is 0.2 lbs.
Ignore the low fidelity of this 26-track compendium, and you have one of the most interesting gospel compilations ever released. Most of these songs were recorded among a variety of "race" labels between 1926 and 1936, mostly for Paramount and Vocalion. Copious liner notes provide the needed details for each track, along with an essay by label chief/folk legend John Fahey. Soundwise, some of these tunes are indeed primitive--there are more hisses and pops than a Mongolian BBQ. But underneath the surface noises, in tracks by Elder J.J. Hadley (a.k.a. Charley Patton), Washington White (a.k.a. Bukka White), and Blind Roosevelt Graves, there's something magical. Apparently, '26 to '36 saw a newfound interest in sacred street singers that, in turn, inspired record labels to hire blues artists to work under aliases. Whatever the motivation, these tracks are testimonies to a nearly lost era of great musicianship. --Jason Verlinde