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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Various Artists: Fire in My Bones: Raw+Rare+Otherworldly African-American Gospel (1944-2007)

Fire in My Bones functions like an unofficial sequel to Dust-to-Digital's inaugural collection of pre-WWII African-American gospel music, Goodbye, Babylon – albeit far less grandiose in its presentation. Both releases bare the mark of Atlanta graphic designer Susan Archie and are linked by an elemental visual style. But what sets this collection apart is that it focuses on gospel music post-WWII, a time when rock and roll was changing everything. The point is underscored by Elder Beck's 1965 "Rock and Roll Sermon" which preaches the ills of rock's suggestive nature then morphs into a Sunday morning version of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock." The material is broken up by depth in spiritual and emotional themes, as opposed to offering a chronological timeline, which works well here. Overall, Fire in My Bones covers a broad swathe of sounds from a specific era of jubilant music. (Tompkins Square) 4 out of 5 stars.

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