Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 8: 1930-1934

Published Monday 26th February 2007
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 8: 1930-1934
Rev J M Gates - Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol 8: 1930-1934

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 10288-9728
LABEL: Document DOCD-5483
RRP: £9.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

The first track of this compilation by the legendary straining preacher was a prophetic portent of the Depression which was enveloping America. "These Hard Times Are Tight Like That" was a gallows humour playlet which 76 years on from its 1930 recording date still resonates with power. Some of the other sketches here sound shambolically under-rehearsed so it's when he resorts to singing on the stirring "He'll Feed You When You're Hungry" that the old magic returns. With the Depression all but flattening the Race Records market it was to be four years before the Baptist preacher/singer got a chance to record again. For Bluebird he recorded such items as the sung "On The Battlefield" dedicated to "the only sister I have livin' in this world" while his sermons about Hell, a long time favourite of the Atlanta reverend, seem less fiery than his recordings of old. Clearly tastes in gospel music were changing and it was harmonising vocal groups rather than sermonising reverends who were becoming the big sellers. But there is still plenty of good stuff here. Listen to the impassioned testifying on "Goin' Through The Pearly Gates" on which the rev shares the vocals with Clara Hudmon while on "Prepare To Meet Thy God" the small congregation assembled in the Atlanta recording studio exhorts him to "Come on!" when he momentarily stumbles.

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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