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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Three discs-72,79,74 minutes each approximately. The discs slip inside a quad-fold cardboard holder. The sound ranges from fairly good to somewhat muffled/scratchy-but it doesn't really matter with music like this-it's the message that's important, and the atmospheric sound seems to, somehow, deepen the impact. The booklet lists each track chronologically, and there's a few sentences about each track-which helps to understand this music a little better. There's also a few b&w photos of the performers, and reproductions of various record labels-a nice touch.

The idea to base this collection on 45 RPM singles was smart. These recordings have no grand plan, no grand album length message. We're in "everyman" territory-so the message is short and to the point-get your message across quickly with a minimum of fuss (and expense), and spread the "word". The message had to be immediate, focused, and convincing. The very use of 45's brought this music to virtually anyone who wanted to hear it. Cheap to record, they were for the congregation, the local neighborhood, or (maybe) regionally.

And on the best of these recordings (and there's a lot here), there's a fervor, a "get right-now" feeling. These songs take a hold of you, and strips bare all the pretense, all the nonsense, and focuses on what's really important. In some ways, this collection is even better than the "Fire In My Bones" collection from 2009. The combination of modern instruments (if there's any at all), and the convincing, (sometimes) declamatory shouting of the performers is truly exciting. The sound of the organ is straight out of the church. The drum machines are rudimentary and typical of their time. The a capella singing is satisfyingly rough. The spoken sermons are electrifying, and their congregations are full of fervor and conviction from another era. But it's the quieter, but no less intense, tracks that give this set a real depth and identity. By their very nature, these tracks have that subtle power that cause you to really stop and listen. And that gives their messages even more weight, more intensity. In this compilation you'll hear bits of r&b, blues, pop, r'n'r, and even a bit of country music-all mixed with gospel. Sort of garage-gospel if you will. Someone got enough money together to record a 45 and then release it locally-what's more "garage" than that?

I could easily see another volume following along the same path as this fine compilation. Hopefully, enough people will seek this out as they did the previous "Fire In My Bones" set. Lately, there seems to be a lot of older gospel music collections seeing release-some of them very fine. And this collection can easily sit alongside the best of those. One listen and you'll hear what I mean. This music was almost lost (or maybe was lost) to gospel fans. Once again, the folks at Tompkins Square and Mike McGonigal have rescued music that deserves a better fate. Listen and be transported back to any number of preachers, churches, congregations, from times long since past. This is honest, visceral, real deal gospel.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
First of all, major props to Mike for sifting through thousands of hours of obscure and DIY 45's to present this collection. As the liner notes state this is a collection of music at it's most honest and soulful. I know gospel music and I only recognized one or two names out of this entire collection.
That said, the selections range from the primitive and downright quirky to quartets that would have Ira Tucker looking over his shoulder. I live in Cocoa Beach, Fl. so imagine my surprise when i discovered one of the tracks as originating from Cocoa, maybe three miles from my house!!
The sad fact is that not a single "Positive Music" MacChristian station will play this. I'm sure "Sinners Crossroads" will play it, and so will I on "Rev. Billys Rhythm Revival." I can only hope that others will do the same.
This is not merely a great historical document, as mentioned in other reviews it rocks as hard as any "Nuggets" collection, and packs as much "soul" as any of the great KentUK releases.
Great Job!
P.S. - For pete's sake,don't bootleg this collection, these people deserve your money, if they don't sell a certain amount, they won't keep making collections like this, and that would be a real shame.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
If you are familiar with compiler Mike McGonigal's first compilation of raw underground gospel ("Fire In My Bones") then you know what you're in store for here. And, if you haven't heard that set yet, you can start with either that one or this--you can't lose either way.

That first compilation was a watershed release for me. It was one of those few releases that isn't merely exceptional, but which opened my mind to a whole genre of music of which I was previously unaware. I never before thought I would listen to gospel, let alone become such a passionate admirer of it.

This isn't gospel as it is largely stereotyped. Most of this isn't pretty, or clean or always in tune. This is raw and rough around the edges. It is the sound of people moved to sing and shout their love, using whatever resources are at their disposal. This is music that had to be made, no matter the hurdles. This is music that will not let you listen passively--it is going to shake you and hard.

I think the best, simplest way I can describe these tracks are "Nuggets Gospel": it's gospel (and funk and blues and country and more) flavored with my favorite aspects of 60's garage psych. The closest parallel that came to mind for me while listening to both sets are those grittiest, dirtiest, most glorious moments of "Exile on Main Street".

There's nearly four hours of music here and yet still I want more. This just might end up being my favorite release of this year, and might even be a hair better than "Fire In My Bones".

The cliché says the Devil has the best music, but who knew some of his best tunes are God's?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
Crazy variety of idiosyncratically heartfelt effusions. Compares well with, 'Fire In My Bones', their previous compilation of equally unjustifiably obscure musical sorcery
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent recording. (Good to have at my age and during these times.) Good for your Soul, Mind and Body. Amen...
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Mike McGonigal deserved sanctifying after his first compilation of gospel music, Fire in My Bones: Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel, 1944-2007. I've listened to that 3-CD set many times and am still astonished at how great it is.

But, amazingly, his new Tompkins Square Records release is its equal. Great, inspired playing and singing throughout. I really hope he's got at least one more compilation in him!
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on March 7, 2014
I would give it five if the quality of tracks were totally consistent - but two of the numbers so far have brought me to tears, and I ain't even a Christian.
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on August 25, 2015
Great old stuff, if you like old vintage Gospel and I do!
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on November 4, 2014
This was a great gift for my father he loves it
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on January 1, 2015
Powerful Music
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