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Goodbye, Babylon

Goodbye, Babylon

By any standard, this six-CD box set of old-time gospel music is a stupendous release, both in terms of musical significance, and elaborate packaging. The discs include no less than 135 songs, virtually all of them from the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s, save a couple that fall outside of that time frame in either direction. That's not even counting the bonus disc of 25


By any standard, this six-CD box set of old-time gospel music is a stupendous release, both in terms of musical significance, and elaborate packaging. The discs include no less than 135 songs, virtually all of them from the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s, save a couple that fall outside of that time frame in either direction. That's not even counting the bonus disc of 25 sermons, taken from actual African-American sermons released on record between 1926 and 1941, mostly from the earlier years of that stretch. It amounts to the largest, and certainly the most diverse, compilation of American gospel music from the early days of the phonograph record, encompassing both the White and African-American strands of the form. And it's not exclusively of interest to gospel specialists, as much of the music is squarely in the early American country, blues, and/or folk tradition, and heavily impacted the growth of those forms. Such is the breadth of the anthology that it defies summarization in one review, but there are a few especially important features worth emphasizing. The sheer breadth of performers represented is amazing, and not just those recognizable to collectors, the lineup including such American musical giants as Hank Williams, the Carter Family, Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Louvin Brothers, Skip James, Mahalia Jackson, the Stanley Brothers, Uncle Dave Macon, Thomas A. Dorsey, the Maddox Brothers & Rose, Josh White, and Bill Monroe (as part of the Monroe Brothers). There's just as much if not more attention given, however, to less celebrated names, down to performers about whom little or nothing is known, leaving behind just one or two incredibly rare 78s. Even some of the selections by major artists might be unknown to fans of the singers, as some are taken from rare sources like radio transcriptions (as the Louvin Brothers' "I'll Never Go Back" and Williams' "I'll Have a New Body" are). There are almost as many styles covered as there are songs, including not just the group singing and solo-with-keyboard accompaniment that some might think of as standard gospel. There's also close harmony early country music, tough country guitar blues, jug bands, string bands, group and solo a cappella singing, prisoner woodchoppers, and unclassifiable weird items in which the backup's supplied by unclassifiable novelty instruments, amplified steel guitar, slide banjo, or a solitary harmonica. There's even some early jazz, calypso (by Roaring Lion), and, in Sister Rosetta Tharpe's 1944 hit "Strange Things Happening Every Day," even some primordial full-band R&B. More than an impressive effort of scholarship, however, this is something than can be enjoyed even by non-converts either to gospel music, or to the religious beliefs that serve as its lyrical foundation. For the blues, country, Appalachian folk, and other indigenous American musical forms are ground so deeply into gospel's fabric, that sometimes you might forget you're listening to music that's been classified as gospel. The performances have an unselfconscious swing and grit, and if some of the songs don't particularly grab you, such is the eclecticism that it won't be long before something does. Some of the highlights, indeed, are not by celebrated performers, but off-the-wall entries, like Blind Willie Johnson's amazingly guttural vocals on "Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There." If you're so inclined, you can find ancestors to rock and soul here and there, as in Johnson's "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying," eventually adapted by the Blues Project; Eddie Head and His Family's "Down on Me," sung by Janis Joplin when it was covered by Big Brother & the Holding Company; James' "Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader," covered more than 60 years later by Beck; the Gospel Keys' shake-'em-on-down 1946 version of "You've Got to Move," which precedes the more famous versions by both Mississippi Fred McDowell and the Rolling Stones; and even, in a sermon by Rev. Isaiah Shelton, a snatch of a song that resurfaced in Ray Charles' hit "Leave My Woman Alone." The sixth disc of sermons, incidentally, isn't necessarily dispensable if you think you don't have the patience for that kind of thing; the fervent deliveries and call-and-response vocals can be surprisingly musical, to the point where much of it sounds like actual singing. The packaging of this set is also exceptionally noteworthy, encased in a cedar box with a slide-off top, and padded with actual fragrant cotton. Also inside is a 200-page book -- it's too large to be called a booklet, really -- with expert commentaries on each track, original personnel and recording dates, lyrical transcriptions, relevant Biblical quotes, and plenty of cool illustrations, old photos, and record label reproductions. The remastering from old rare discs is also fine. With such attentive layers of detail, in fact, it's puzzling that the liner notes don't include the original label of release for the recordings, a small but important detail which is of undoubted interest to many people willing to invest in such an anthology. It's a very small quibble, though, for a production that could absorb your interest for days or months if you want to dive into the bottom and catch all of its nuances and interconnections.

Product Details

Release Date:
Dust To Digital


Disc 1

  1. Goodbye, Babylon
  2. Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb
  3. Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind on Jesus)
  4. Present Joys
  5. All I Want Is That Pure Religion
  6. Satisfied
  7. As the Life of a Flower
  8. Thou Carest Lord, For Me
  9. Lift Him Up That's All
  10. Rock My Soul
  11. There's a Light Lit Up in Galilee
  12. Crucifixion
  13. Crying Holy Unto the Lord
  14. I'll Never Go Back
  15. God's Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares
  16. Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit
  17. I Belong to the Band - Hallelujah!
  18. River of Jordan
  19. Sow Good Seeds
  20. I'll Be Satisfied
  21. Troubled 'Bout My Soul
  22. Dry Bones
  23. Jesus My All
  24. Creep Along, Moses
  25. Joy Bells
  26. He Gave Me a Heart to Love
  27. O Day

Disc 2

  1. There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down
  2. Memphis Flu
  3. The Bible's Right
  4. Standing in the Need of Prayer
  5. The Blood That Stained the Old Rugged Cross
  6. How About You
  7. Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader
  8. Murillo's Lesson
  9. Glory Glory Glory Glory to the Lamb
  10. Come Over Here
  11. I'm Gonna Cross the River of Jordan - Some O' These Days
  12. Milky White Way
  13. Deliverance Will Come
  14. Daniel in the Den of Lions
  15. Goin' on to Heaven in the Sanctified Way
  16. No More, My Lord
  17. This World Can't Stand Long
  18. God's Getting Worried
  19. Get Right Church
  20. Move Members Move
  21. Lover of the Lord
  22. The Old Ark's a Moving
  23. On My Way to Heaven
  24. The Bible's True
  25. Ship of Glory
  26. Since I Laid My Burden Down
  27. Precious Lord, Hold My Hand
  28. When the Saints Go Marching In
  29. Jonah, Come Out the Wilderness

Disc 3

  1. Down on the Old Camp Ground
  2. My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race
  3. Your Enemy Cannot Harm You (But Watch Your Close Friend)
  4. Ain't Gonna Lay My Armor Down
  5. I'll Fly Away
  6. Heavenly Vision
  7. Lord I Just Can't Keep from Crying
  8. Lower My Dying Head
  9. You've Got to Move
  10. That Home Above
  11. Golden Gate Gospel Train
  12. I'll Be Rested (When the Roll Is Called)
  13. Down on Me
  14. Goin' to Rest Where Jesus Is
  15. Got Heaven in My View
  16. Judgment
  17. I Want Two Wings to Veil My Face
  18. We Got the Same Kinda Power Over Here
  19. What Are They Doing in Heaven Today
  20. That Great Day
  21. I'm Bound for Home
  22. I Am in the Heavenly Way
  23. Over in the Glory Land
  24. Death in the Morning
  25. In the Land Where We'll Never Grow Old
  26. Bathe in That Beautiful Pool
  27. I'll Have a New Body

Disc 4

  1. Walking My Lord Up Calvary Hill
  2. Christ Arose
  3. If You See My Saviour
  4. Let Jesus Lead You
  5. Found a Wonderful Savior
  6. He Is My Story
  7. I Remember Calvary
  8. Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There
  9. If You Follow Jesus
  10. Hide Me in the Blood of Jesus
  11. I'll Be a Friend to Jesus
  12. Standing on the Promises
  13. Jesus Is My Air-O-Plane
  14. I've Got Salvation in My Heart
  15. I Mean to Live for Jesus
  16. When Was Jesus Born?
  17. Come to the Savior
  18. I Want Jesus to Walk With Me
  19. He's Coming Soon
  20. Return Again
  21. I Am the True Vine
  22. Sweet Story of Old
  23. I'll Lead a Christian Life
  24. I'm Leaning on the Lord
  25. Where He Leads Me I Will Follow
  26. Jesus Is Getting Us Ready for the Great Day

Disc 5

  1. Daniel Saw the Stone
  2. Called to the Foreign Field
  3. Hallelujah to the Lamb
  4. You Need Jesus on Your Side
  5. You'd Better Mind
  6. Exhilaration
  7. If the Light Has Gone Out of Your Soul
  8. Keep on the Firing Line
  9. Romans Ten and Nine
  10. Standing Outside
  11. Sinner You Better Get Ready
  12. I Got to Cross the River of Jordan
  13. Free at Last
  14. The Whole World in His Hands
  15. Amazing Grace
  16. Honey in the Rock
  17. On Jordan's Stormy Banks We Stand
  18. My Heart Keeps Singing
  19. I Don't Intend to Die in Egyptland
  20. Primrose Hill
  21. Keep on the Sunny Side
  22. Light in the Valley
  23. When the Saints Go Marching In
  24. We Are Almost Down to the Shore
  25. Strange Things Happening Every Day
  26. Goodbye, Babylon, Pt. II

Disc 6

  1. Gettin' Ready for Christmas Day
  2. Black Diamond Express to Hell, Pt.I
  3. Black Diamond Express to Hell, Pt. II
  4. The Downfall of Nebuchadnezzar
  5. The Liar
  6. Hell and What It Is
  7. The Church and the Kingdom
  8. If I Have a Ticket Lord Can I Ride?
  9. You Must Be Born Again
  10. Take Me to the Water
  11. Oh Lord, Remember Me
  12. Christ, The Teacher
  13. King of Kings
  14. O Lord I'm Your Child
  15. Moses Was Rescued by a Negro Woman
  16. That White Mule of Sin
  17. Deacon's Prayer Services
  18. The Prodigal Son
  19. Well of Salvation
  20. Jonah in the Belly of the Whale
  21. The Gambler's Doom
  22. The Prodigal's Return (The Things I USTA Do I Don't Do No More)
  23. God Is Mad With Man
  24. The Black Camel of Death
  25. Death Might Be Your Santa Claus

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lester Flatt   Guitar
Bill Monroe   Vocals
Earl Scruggs   Baritone
Ralph Stanley   Vocals
Mac Wiseman   Tenor Saxophone
Grandpa Jones   Group Member
Merle Travis   Bass,Guitar,Group Member
Jim Robinson   Trombone
Bill Carlisle   Guitar,Vocals
Betty Johnson   Vocals,Group Member
Clyde Moody   Vocals,Group Member
J.E. Mainer   Violin,Vocals
Wilma Lee Cooper   Guitar,Vocals
Charlie Monroe   Vocals,Group Member
Wade Mainer   Lead
Ernest V. Stoneman   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Sammy Price   Piano
Mother Maybelle Carter   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Johnnie Wright   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Bessie Jones   Vocals
Sidney Brown   String Bass
Mark Gaddis   Group Member
Cliff Carlisle   Vocals,Slide Guitar
Abe Bolar   Bass
A.P. Carter   Vocals,Group Member
Sara Carter   Autoharp,Vocals,Group Member
Stoney Cooper   Violin,Vocals
Harry Cruder   Bass,Group Member
A.C. Forehand   Guitar,Bells
Aaron Graves   Tambourine,Vocals,Group Member
Buck Graves   Dobro
Roosevelt Graves and Brother   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Charles Randolph Grean   Bass,Group Member
Bessie Johnson   Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals
Tex Logan   Violin
Ira Louvin   Mandolin,Vocals
Charlie Louvin   Guitar,Vocals
Lonnie McIntorsh   Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals
Punch Miller   Banjo,Piano,Trombone,Cornet,Vocals,Group Member
Cyril Monrose   Bass,Clarinet,Flute,Piano,Trumpet,Violin,cuatro
Sam Morgan   Cornet
Clarence Nelson   Vocals
Ernie Newton   Bass Guitar
Cedric Rainwater   Bass
Sterling Rex   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Jerry Rivers   Violin,Vocals
Homer "Pappy" Sherrill   Bass (Vocal)
Melvin Smith   Leader
Carter Stanley   Guitar,Vocals
Silas Steele   Vocals
Joe Stuart   Mandolin
Harold "Doc" West   Drums,Vocals
Joanne Williams   Vocals
Jack Anglin   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
John Bailes   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Walter Bailes   Guitar,Lead,Group Member
Charlie Beal   Vocals
William Boush   Baritone
Roland Johnson   Violin,Vocals
William Thatch   Falsetto
Joseph Armstrong   Baritone,Group Member
Henry Owens   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Orlandus Wilson   Bass,Group Member
Elder Charles D. Beck   Piano
Kenneth Johnson   Vocals,Group Member
Mother Sally Jones   Tambourine,Vocals,Group Member
Brent Lambert   Violin,Group Member
Ray "Duck" Atkins   Dobro,Vocals,Group Member
Homer Bailes   Fiddle,Group Member
Bill Bolick   Mandolin,Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Earl Bolick   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
D.P. "Dad" Carter   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Davis   Banjo
Alton Delmore   Baritone,Group Member
Rabon Delmore   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Uncle Eck Dunford   Violin,Vocals
Ernest Ferguson   Mandolin,Group Member
Zeke Morris   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
John Dilleshaw   Guitar,Vocals
Clarence Todd   Vocals
Hobart Smith   Guitar,Hand Clapping
William Langford   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Norman Woodlieff   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Ed Young   Fife
Malinda Taylor   Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals
Henson Massey   Baritone
James Ricks   Bass,Group Member
Marion Hall   Guitar
Francis Jenkins   Banjo,Vocals
Willie Connell Johnson   Leader,Baritone,Group Member
Estelle Allen   Piano
A.A. Gray   Vocals
Alva Lam   Guitar,Vocals
Andrew Morgan   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Alberta Ramsey   Vocals
Ollis Martin   Harmonica
Sister Black   Vocals
Jesse Johnson's Revue   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Rose   Vocals
Hattie Stoneman   Violin,Vocals
Darrell "Pee Wee" Lambert   Vocals
Robert Cooper   Group Member
James Keels   Bass,Guitar,Group Member
Delroy Hollins   Baritone,Group Member
Odette Jackson   Vocals
Len Williams   Bass,Group Member
Walter "Kid" Smith   Vocals,Group Member
Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon & Punches Delegates of Pleasure   Vocals,Group Member
Sister Jennie Jackson   Guitar,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals
John Davis & the Georgia Sea Island Singers   Vocals
Herbert J. Francis   Organ
Daniel Johnson   Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Noraneice Allen   Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Brother Hubbard   Prayers
Ancil McVay   Guitar,Vocals
Benny Jarrell   Violin,Vocals
Earl Fouche   Alto Saxophone
Dacosta Woltz   Vocals
Odell Smith   Violin,Group Member
Sister Ethel Grainger   Vocals
James Roberts   Mandolin,Vocals
J. "Buddie" Archer   Group Member
R.J. Chastain   Group Member
Howard Bumgarden   Guitar,Vocals
Ollie Bunn   Vocals
Leroy Ridgel   Violin,Group Member
L.W. Bennett   Group Member
Gastão Moreira   Group Member
C.E. Couch   Group Member
Martha Amburgey Carson   Guitar,Vocals
Robert Dewey Cooper   Vocals
Thomas Franklin Cooper   Guitar,Vocals
Elder Edwards   Vocals
Clay "Henry" Everhart   Vocals,Group Member
Annie L. Fitts   Vocals
J.C. Cronic   Group Member
Edward Foster   Group Member
James Hollingsworth   Vocals
Bob Johnson   Vocals,Group Member
Jim Johnson   Vocals
Leslie Gaddis   Group Member
Lydia Johnson   Vocals,Group Member
Rose Lam   Vocals
Emma Daniels   Guitar,Group Member
Henry Morrison   Vocals
Clarence Dennis "Tooter" Parnell   Vocals
Emma Ramsey   Vocals
Charles Ancil Ridgel   Vocals,Group Member
Elma Sawyer   Vocals
Sister Rice   Vocals
Millard Whitehead   Vocals,Group Member
Noah Lanning   Group Member
J. Clarence Meredith   Group Member
Cartel Ridgel   Group Member
Ramona "Jones" Riggins   Group Member
A.C. Sheffield   Group Member
C.P. Sheffield   Group Member
Osmond L. Spaulding   Group Member
J. Mantell Thomas   Group Member
Raleigh Turnage   Group Member
Otto Tutson   Group Member
Ambus Worley   Group Member
Brother Williams   Guitar
Ernest "Jim" Carter   Guitar
Andrew D. Cole   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Melvin Smith   Tenor Saxophone
Sermon   Piano,Cymbals,Wood Block
William Bobo   Bass

Technical Credits

Blind Willie Johnson   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Uncle Dave Macon   Composer
Alan Lomax   Liner Notes
William Billings   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Rev. Gary Davis   Composer
Anthony Heilbut   Annotation
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Opal Nations   Annotation
Bruce Nemerov   Annotation
John Newton   Composer
Tony Russell   Annotation
Richard K. Spottswood   Annotation,Essay
Sister Rosetta Tharpe   Composer
David Tibet   Essay
Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey   Composer
Bruce Bastin   Liner Notes
David Evans   Annotation
Ray Funk   Annotation
Albert E. Brumley   Composer
Arizona Dranes   Composer
Steven Ledbetter   Essay
Ken Romanowski   Annotation
Kip Lornell   Annotation
Charles Wolfe   Annotation,Essay
Paul Oliver   Liner Notes
Gary Atkinson   Composer
Axel Kuestner   Liner Notes
Doug Seroff   Annotation
Charles Albert Tindley   Composer
Guido Van Rijn   Liner Notes,Annotation
Llynn Abbott   Annotation
Gary Garett   Composer
Blue Chips   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Potsy Duncan   Illustrations
Susan Archie   Art Direction,Illustrations
Len Williams   Management
Patrick Cather   Liner Notes
Steven C. Tracy   Liner Notes
David Warren Steel   Essay
J.G. Mangold   Liner Notes
Benjamin Mays   Liner Notes

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