MEMPHIS MARVELS - MEMPHIS GOSPEL 1927-1960 (4CD)
JSP (JSP77154 )
Gospel Travelers, Queen C Anderson, Brewster Singers, Angel Voices, Spirit Of Memphis Quartet, Southern Wonders, Songbirds Of The South, Sons Of Jehovah, Prisonaires, Bethel Quartet, Silvertones, Southern Jubilee Singers, OV Wright & The Sunset Travelers, Spirit Of St James etc.
This is a terrific selection of Memphis gospel. It starts in the late twenties with, among others, the recordings of The I.C. Glee Quartet, The Bethel Quartet and AC & Blind Mamie Forehand, through the thirties and forties with The Spirit Of Memphis Quartet and then into the early fifties with The Songbirds Of The South and The Southern Wonders and on to the late fifties soulful sounds of The Dixie Nightingales and OV Wright and The Sunset Travelers. Compiler Opal Louis Nations has dug deep into his collection to chart the development of Memphis gospel with hard-to-find rarities from labels like Perkins, Peacock, Sun, Pepper and Duke and even rarer test pressings made at radio stations.
It's a great anthology - it doesn't matter which track you choose, it's guaranteed to be a belter! For example The Gospel Travelers God's Chariot in which all hell lets loose in the sound effects department and Queen C Anderson's belted-out call-and-response blockbuster I Never Heard Of A City which segues into the handclapping stomper These Are They. Then there's The Spirit Of Memphis Quartet delivering their deep, and I mean deep, harmonies on the old classic Happy In The Service Of The Lord. The Sunset Travelers really take off on their vocals and drums steamer Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down, The Southern Wonders bring a bit of down-home swing to Lord Stand By Me and Cassietta George sings like a woman possessed as she leads The Songbirds Of The South on their tremendous version of Ninety Nine And A Half Won't Do.
I could go on and on because every one of the 105 tracks here is stacked with wonderful moments. They weren't kidding when they called this box set Memphis Marvels!
Review Date: March 2012