Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 4: 1926

Published Monday 29th January 2007
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 4: 1926
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 4: 1926

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11651-10453
LABEL: Document DOCD5442
RRP: £9.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

By December 1926 this amazing Atlanta preacher-turned-Race-Records-recording-star was really hitting his stride. As they had once before, Victor Records allowed Gates to record a couple of longer length 12 inch 78s (which were normally reserved for classical music). The result is one of the most stunning sermonettes ever recorded. "Dry Bones In The Valley" has Ezekiel's vision examined in a 3'50" preach that by the time it reaches its "thigh bone connected to the knee bone" bit the message has an inherent musicality of unstoppable passion. The flipside "Jesus Rose From The Dead" briefly features another of the "old familiar hymns" that the Baptist minister was so fond of (blues giant Blind Lemon Jefferson later recorded a version of this old hymn) but it's the sermon that catches fire. Gates records that women went to Jesus' tomb because men would have "made a motion that a committee would be appointed, and sit down to roll away the stone." Elsewhere on the CD there are two takes (one previously unissued) of "Just As Soon As My Feet Strike Zion" which are quite different from each other though the theme in both is the sin of believers grumbling about their troubles and not trusting in God. Occasionally Rev Gates slips up. On the sermon "You Got To Cross Jordan" he puts a whale in the River Jordan (which as the rather patronising sleeve comments note would have created a biological sensation) while "I'm So Glad Trouble Don't Last Always" has the pastor claiming that science has done away with both the hen and the rooster! But such eccentric content aside, this is timeless stuff.

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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