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Gospel music—its origins and its effects on the souls and stories of African Americans—gets a strong,
loving treatment here. Wood and Igus, who collaborated on I See the Rhythm (1998), once again join forces, with Igus providing the stirring text and Wood the inventive folk art. After an introduction explains the elements of gospel, the book begins with the coming of slaves to America and follows the music as it moves through specific periods in history—slavery, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the civil rights movement—and becomes meshed with other forms of music, including 'holy hip-hop.' The prose poetry,
appearing in varying colors and fonts, features strong, memorable phrases—'Gospel women turn city streets into sacred spaces'—and is matched by intricately detailed paintings executed in strong colors.
Adding to the book's usefulness is a terrific CD with five songs spanning the history of gospel music.
A solid package for those already familiar with the strains of gospel or those getting into it for the first time. — Booklist