Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 2: 1926

Published Wednesday 24th January 2007
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 2: 1926
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 2: 1926

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11652-10454
LABEL: Document DOCD5432
RRP: £9.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

By the time of the recordings (22 sides made in mammoth recording sessions over five days in September 1926) the famed Baptist minister from Atlanta, Georgia was really into his stride. His repertoire was largely well known to the African American Christians who rushed to buy these 78s on Victor, Vocalion, Pathe or Romeo - what he called on his spoken introduction to "Amazing Grace" "good old familiar hymns". During this stage of his vast recording career the good reverend would occasionally stretch out to deliver a full-on preach, but when he did, as on "Must Be Born Again" it's with the full-on fervour of the best "straining preachers". He'd previously recorded an earlier version of the Bible text for Brunswick but with a different sermon and with a different hymn. On "Amazing Grace" Rev Gates showed he was far from enamoured with the culture he found around him. "We've livin' in a scientific age now, where people tryin' to leave aside the old hymns and keep up with style. Atlanta gets her style from New York, and New York gettin' her style from Paris, and Paris gettin' her style from Hell. And except we sing more of these old familiar hymns, we'll find ourselves in the same city." Such sentiments clearly go against the grain for the, non-Christian sleevenote writer but we can forgive the dear chap his jibes at "fundamentalists' suspicion of progress" for his research into Rev Gates' life and music is exemplary here and on all the volumes in this series. Re-recording his best selling 78s was now a habit with Rev Gates and the fourth version of his mega hit "Death's Black Train Is Coming" has a perfunctory intro and a garbled new verse. But there's plenty of other great stuff here.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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