This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45RPM, 1957-1982
45 (7" single, 45 rpm), Box Set
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Three CD collection of rare Gospel recordings. Get ready for fiery sanctified soul, heavy Pentecostal jams, drum machine gospel, slow-burning moaners, glorified guitar sermons and righteously ragged a cappela hymns! The music on this compilation was originally released on small label 45s, mostly in the 1960s and '70s. At least one-third of the records were self-released, paid for by a church congregation or the artists themselves. Others were on regional labels (typically run by one single producer) little known today outside of a small circle of collectors. This vibrant music is incredibly honest and almost criminally unknown. All tracks were sourced from 45s collected over the last decade by compiler Mike McGonigal, who also produced 2009's three disc set Fire in My Bones: Raw + Rare + Otherworldly African-American Gospel.
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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This is not merely a great historical document, as mentioned in other reviews it rocks as hard as any "Nuggets" collection, and packs as much "soul" as any of the great KentUK releases.
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.
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.