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Fire in My Bones: Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel, 1944-2007 Box set

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The majority of this music has never been reissued on CD, or in any other form (most tracks were originally released on regional independent labels). Most post-WWII compilations of African-American gospel music naturally concentrate on the astounding quartet and solo vocalist sounds made during the music's Golden Age. Fire In My Bones attempts to address and collect more neglected sounds from that era (and on to the present day). Dozens of traditions are represented. Some go back hundreds of years while others seem to have been arrived at as soon as the tape began to roll. Field recordings and studio tracks are all mashed together, with solo performances next to congregational recordings, hellfire sermons next to afterlife laments. Leon Pinson, Elder & Sister Brinson & the Brinson Brothers, Grant & Ella, Straight Street Holiness Group, Theotis Taylor, Brother & Sister W B Grate -- these artists will now be just a little less obscure.

Fire In My Bones provides a small peek at the incredible diversity and power of post-war black gospel. Much of this music is raw, distorted and might sound a bit strange. But it is not presented as a novelty freak show or as "outsider music." This is gospel - which we must always remember translates as "the good news" - as it has been sung and performed in tiny churches and large programs, from rural Georgia to urban Los Angeles. It is clearly among the most vibrant, playful, beautiful and emotionally charged music in the world.

Produced by Mike McGonigal. Package design by Grammy-winner Susan Archie.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Peace in the Valley
  2. Rock and Roll Sermon
  3. If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
  4. I'm a Soldier / The Phillips' Specials
  5. How Long
  6. Better Get Ready
  7. So Glad
  8. Wasn't That a Mystery
  9. When the Saints Go Marching In
  10. Get Back Sata
  11. I Got a Telephone in My Bosom
  12. I Made a Vow to the Lord
  13. You've Got to Move (When the Lord Gets Ready)
  14. Down by the Riverside
  15. Stand by Me
  16. The Wicked Shall Cease from Troubling
  17. That's Alright (Since My Soul Has Got a Seat Up in the Kingdom)
  18. Why Sorrow Done Passed Me Around
  19. Don't Let Him Ride
  20. He's Coming Back
  21. By His Word
  22. Where Could I Go
  23. Stand by Me
  24. I'll Never Turn Back / Shelby Bransford Jr.
  25. You Without Sin Cast the First Stone
  26. Storm Thru Mississippi / Henry Green
  27. I'm Pressing On

Disc: 2

  1. Jesus' Blood
  2. Glory Glory Hallelujah
  3. John Saw
  4. Since He Touched Me
  5. God's Mighty Hand
  6. What Can I Do Without the Lord
  7. Angels
  8. The Truth in the Gospel / Goldie Haynes & Choir
  9. Walk with Me
  10. Spirit of the Lord / The Abraham Brothers
  11. I've Got Heaven on My Mind
  12. In God's House
  13. Does Jesus Care
  14. If I Could Not Say a Word
  15. Where the Sun Never Goes Down
  16. I Heard It Throught the True Vine
  17. Father, I Stretch My Arm to Thee
  18. Nobody Knows
  19. How Much I Owe
  20. My Testimony
  21. Prayer /I Love the Lord / Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church Congregation Excerpt
  22. Same Man
  23. I Know I Got Religion
  24. He's My Rock, My Sword, My Shield
  25. Working on a Building
  26. Lord, Hold My Hand
  27. Fire Shed in My Bones

Disc: 3

  1. Power Is the Heart of Man
  2. Don't Let the Devil Ride
  3. Holy Rock
  4. Pray on, My Child
  5. Jesus Is Sweet to Me
  6. I Want to Live (So God Can Use Me)
  7. I'm Just a Voice
  8. You Ought to Been There
  9. You Better Get Ready
  10. Help Me
  11. So Soon
  12. Introduction/Rock Daniels
  13. The Very Last Mile
  14. What God Can Do
  15. Let the Redeemed Say So
  16. Sweet Home
  17. A Little Old Fashioned
  18. How Long
  19. At a Time Like This (Pt. 1)
  20. God Rode in the Windstorm
  21. Go Devil Go
  22. This Train
  23. Victory Shall Be Mine
  24. The Lord Is My Shepherd
  25. Some Sweet Day
  26. Swing Low

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Tompkins Square
  • ASIN: B002NACY72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,259 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Three discs 79,78,78 minutes each approximately. The sound,while not pristine,is suitable for this type of music,especially the smaller-sized groups heard here. The discs are slipped in,bare,into their individual cardboard sleeves-not the best for preservation,a minor quibble. The booklet gives short,track-by-track info on each performer/performers. There are reproductions of 45rpm record labels sprinkled throughout,along with a couple of photographs of performers from the era. The various artists are in (a seemingly) random order,which gives this collection a better flow from track to track. In addition,a portion of any profits from this set helps musicians in New Orleans,who lost their livelyhood due to Hurricane Katrina.

This collection takes a slightly different look at gospel music-not attempting a rehash of the usual gospel music/performers from the golden age of gospel music (just after WWII through the late 50's/early 60's)that even today exerts a powerful hold on listeners. There are many people who listen to nothing but gospel music,and anyone who listens to blues music should be aware of,at least,the more well known country (BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON,SISTER GERTRUDE MORGAN,REVEREND GARY DAVIS,"MISSISSIPPI" FRED McDOWELL,REV.J.M. GATES,ELDER CHARLES BECK 1946-56 as examples),and gospel singers/collections ("Angola Prison Spirituals","Prison Blues of the South","Como Now",Sam Cooke and THE SOUL STIRRERS,"NAOMI SHELTON AND THE GOSPEL QUEENS",Rev. Overstreet,CAMPBELL BROTHERS-"You Can Feel It","Spreading the Word-Early Gospel Recordings","Goodbye Babylon","Nuggets of the Golden Age of Gospel 1945-1958","Guitar Evangelists-Vol.1 & 2") available. As far as I know all the above are still available and are very worthwhile owning.
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There have been some classic gospel releases in the last few years. (Dust to Digital's - Goodbye Babylon and Take Me To The Water; Revenants's American Primitive Vol. 1.)But this one is different from the others. Instead of mining out more Pre War Gospel, they catch us up on the years following. From 1944-2007 is where this set is based. If your a fan of Kevin Nutt's (who serves as a Adviser on the set) Sinner's Crossroads show on WFMU then you will eat this up. A classic release from Tompkins Square and nice box set design from Susan Archie.
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This music makes sense if one understands the nature of the God and Jesus these musicians and singers worshipped. They worshipped the Big Guys, the God of thunder, lightning, and earthquakes and the Son of God who stood up for the oppressed and the poor and gave His life for them. Now that God's job is to help you with your finances and find you a spouse and Jesus has been demoted to caring about the self esteem of middle class Americans, it's not surprising that so much 'Christian' music is now shallow, slick, and banal. Fire In My Bones, on the other hand, is powerful music for a powerful God and elevates Vision (As in, 'Without a Vision, my people perish') over message (As in, 'repent or go to hell'). The songs don't tell you why you should go to heaven, they make you want to sign up right now.
Production values range from loose to damn near nonexistent. Now, if that's a problem, stick to American Idol. But consider this: When God unleashed the Big Bang, I'll bet that things got a little messy and I'll bet that God didn't care 'cause He was having too much fun. The same standards apply to these CDs. If something isn't falling off or flying into the corner, the Spirit isn't shaking you hard enough.
Don't get me wrong. The music works. Oh boy, does it work. These folks knew what they were doing. On many of the songs, the singer does a solemn and stately reading of the first line, then, with no hint of a warning, the drums, bass, and ugly electric guitar kick you in the back of the head and you're gone. There are tracks where you'd swear that James Brown's Famous Flames or the Stax/Volt crew snuck into the studio and plugged in. The singers growl, howl, moan, and scream in every pitch that lurks inside the human animal and it always fits the song!
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Much of this music, like much of the nuggets genre, was produced for it's own reward. This music made the people that performed it, feel good. Music performed as an excercise in enjoyment. The enthusiasm, just like with nuggets, is contageous. Those that compiled it, perform their own excercise, unearthing it. The lineage from originator to listener is complete, enthusiasm and praise. Let it wash over you, you will be better for it. Blessed. Funky, too.
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I bought this collection after hearing a couple of songs on columbia's radio station. I'm not particularly a gospel fan but the songs i heard sounded great. I could easily hear gospel's influence on r&b, blues and rock and roll. The sound quality is raw because of the rarity of the tracks but that does not diminish from the enjoyment of the music. If you love early r&b and blues, I would highly recommend this album. If you love gospel and Jesus, then it really is no brainer. Either way the album is full of win!
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