Donnerstag, 9. Dezember 2021

VA - Prayers From Hell: White Gospel & Sinner's Blues, 1927-1940

This compilation of hillbilly gospel music and twisted Southern white blues could have been taken from one of the discs in Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music - there's even an essay included by Greil Marcus, a reprinted chapter from his Invisible Republic book.

Normally, this would reek of copycat-ism and a cheap way to make a buck. Given that this is the Trikont label from Germany, you can be assured this isn't the case. Their notes and packages are superb, they make their records primarily for a European audience, where the Smith Anthology may not be available, and there is a different focus, one that is perversely curious in its approach to this very foreign - to them - music. Besides, they put some gems on here Smith didn't include because his anthology was based on only six years of recorded material.

As for the music, it's stellar. This is solid, primitive, hillbilly gospel music and blues. The remastering is excellent and the material choice is wonderful. From the Carolina Ramblers Stringband's "That Lonesome Valley" to the Dixon Brothers' "Didn't Hear Nobody Pray" (covered recently by the Fairfield Four) and "When Gabriel Blows His Trumpet for Me" to Byron Parker and his mountaineer group, the Carter Family, and Bill Carlisle, we hear the sound of the hopeful pilgrims, assured of their place in the heavens with God. Some of these songs also plead for the one who is lost to turn from sin (the Carter Family's "Better Farther On"). The praise is definite but reserved, plaintively sung with the fear of God in their approach. There is a loneliness in these songs that speaks of everything from poverty to a sense of continual loss - it's whistling in the graveyard music.

However, the coin flips on this disc several time when we hear Frank Hutchison's "Hell Bound Train" and "Stackalee," or the mad-dog glass-chewing howl of Dock Boggs' wailing through "Country Blues," "New Prisoner's Song," "Sugar Baby," and "Pretty Polly." Boggs and Hutchison even the score - they show the dark as death side of culturally enforced Christianity and refuse to be tamed or comforted. Joining them are Ledford and Daniel Nicholson's fiddle and banjo blues ballad "Ninety Nine Years" from 1932. It's a tale of love, betrayal. Gambling, love, and murder.

All of these songs appear in the mirror of redemption, past it, out of its dimension and scope. But even here, rebellious as they are, Jesus wins. Just after Boggs' "Pretty Polly" sends chills down the spine for the coldness of its tale, its unrepentant bitterness and anger, we are led out of the entire compilation by Edith and Sherman Collins' "I Can't Feel at Home in This World Anymore." Something becomes obvious in the tune and both gospel and sinner's tunes turn back on themselves and meet the bridge where the title of this song is literally true in both cases, and the pitfalls of earthly existence is, too; it's just the attitude regarding departure from that place that's different.


That Lonesome Valley - Carolina Ramblers String Band
I Am Ready To Go - The Monroe Brothers
Church In The Wildwood - The Carter Family
New Prisoner's Song - Dock Boggs
Didn't Hear Nobody Pray - Dixon Brothers
The Heavenly Train - Bill Carlisle
Hell Bound Train - Frank Hutchison
We Shall Rise - Byron Parker & His Mountaineers
Down South Blues - Dock Boggs
What Will You Take In Exchange - Edith And Sherman Collins
Shining City Over The River - Dorsey & Beatrice Dixon
Worried Man Blues - Rodgers & Nicholson
It Is Better Farther On - The Carter Family
Country Blues - Dock Boggs
What Would The Profit Be - The Monroe Brothers
Unclouded Sky - Bill Carlisle's Kentucky Boys
Stackalee - Frank Hutchison
When Gabriel Blows His Trumpet For Me - Dixon Brothers
I Love My Savior - Byron Parker & His Mountaineers
Sugar Baby - Dock Boggs
He Will Be Your Savior Too - Bill Carlisle
Ninety Nine Years - Ledford & Daniel Nicholson
When Jesus Appears - Dorsey & Beatrice Dixon
Pretty Polly - Dock Boggs
I Can't Feel At Home In This World Any More - Edith & Sherman Collins

VA - Prayers From Hell: White Gospel & Sinner´s Blues 1927 - 1940

4 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Any chance of a re-up here? Thanks :}

rosbeliobones9223@gmail,com hat gesagt…

Sem link irmão!!!

rosbeliobones9223@gmail,com hat gesagt…


zero hat gesagt…

Thanks a lot, and all the best to you. Have a good & safe time!

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