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GOSPEL CELEBRITIES AND CELESTIAL LIGHTS (2CD)

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Fantastic Voyage (FVDD077)

Soul Seekers, Sensation Wonders, Staple Singers, Gospel Cleffs, Candi Staton & The Jewel Gospel Trio, Jesse Fuller, Little Joe Cook & The Evening Star Quartet, Little Richard, Nappy Brown with The Selah Singers, Lavern Baker & The Alex Bradford Singers, Ollie Nightingale & The Dixie Nightingales, Orioles, Marion Williams, Marie Knight & The Sensational Nightingales, Sims Brothers, Zion Travelers, Joe Hinton, Gloria Haynes with Jimmy Liggins etc etc

Opal Louis Nations has already produced one blockbuster gospel set this year - the fabulous Powerhouse Gospel box set on JSP77135 - and now here's another!

The ‘Celebrity' part of the title covers gospel singing by old heroes, stars with a hidden past in gospel and famous names who at one time or another sang in church. Included here are great performances by musicians like the Memphis based Dixie Nightingales who switched to soul in the mid 60s and recorded for Stax as Ollie & The Nightingales, and Candi Staton who worked with her sister in the Jewel Gospel Trio in the late 50s before turning to a hugely successful career in soul music. Long before he became one of the finest big-voiced R&B stars, Nappy Brown spent many years on the gospel circuit with the Selah Singers while Ann Coleman was known as an awesome gospel belter before she sang R&B and presented the world with the first ever version of Got My Mojo Working. Then there's the ten year old Bobby Womack singing The Bible Tells Me So with the Womack Brothers in 1954. Mahalia Jackson sings two unreleased live numbers with Mildred Falls on piano, Jesse Fuller performs as The Lone Cat one-man-band on two numbers from his rare World Song album and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with The Harmonising Four, tears down the building on I Can Hear The Angels.

The ‘Celestial Lights' part of the collection features gospel quartets that should have hit the big time but instead encountered misfortune - or maybe failure was just God's will. The Philco Singers with Rev. Morgan Babb, The Gospel Clefs led by the magnificent Leon Lumpkins, The Soul Seekers of New Orleans and Los Angeles' finest, The Zion Travelers present some of the most stunning and moving tracks on the CD.

There are 52 tracks on this anthology and I swear they're all fantastic. A wonderful, heart-lifting set with great music and knowledgeable notes from Opal Louis Nations. (just one tiny little niggle - OLN describes Betty Hutton as the Woolworth's heiress...err...that was Barbara Hutton...)

Ask for FVDD077

Only £9.95 plus p&p at Red Lick for this 2CD set

Review Date: January 2011

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