Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Memphis Gospel 1927 - 1929

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Rev. Johnnie Blakey
Bessie Johnson
Lonnie McIntorsh
Rev. Sister Mary Nelson
Elders McIntorsh and Edwards


Rev. Sister Mary M. Nelson
01 - The royal telephone
02 - Judgment
03 - The seal of God
04 - Isaiah-LV

Lonnie McIntorsh
05 - Sleep on, mother sleep on
06 - The lion and the tribes of Judah
07 - Arise and shine
08 - How much I owe

Elders McIntorsh and Edwards
09 - What kind of man Jesus is
10 - Since I laid my burden down
11 - The 1927 flood
12 - The latter rain is fall
13 - Take a stand
14 - Behold! the king shall reign

Rev. Johnnie Blakey
15 - King of kings
16 - Jesus was here on business
17 - Warming by the devil`s fire
18 - The devil is loose in the world

Bessie Johnson and Her Sanctified Singers
19 - No room at the hotel
20 - Key to the kingdom
21 - One day
22 - The whole world in his hand

Memphis Sanctified Singers
23 - The great reaping day
24 - He got better things for you

Rev. Sister Mary M. Nelson, vocal.
Lonnie McIntorsh, vocal, guitar.
Rev. Johnny Blakey, sermons.
Bessie Johnson, vocal.
Memphis Sanctified Singers, vocal, with Will Shade, guitar.

Booklet Notes written by Ray Funk & Mason Damrau.
Detailed discography.

Memphis may be better known for the blues or Sun Records but it has been equally important as a centre for black gospel music. The quartet scene with groups like the Spirit of Memphis, the Southern Wonders and Sunset Travelers has been documented in Kip Lornell's book, Happy in the Service of the Lord: Afro-American Gospel Quartets in Memphis. Two of the greatest gospel songwriters, Lucie B. Campbell and Rev. W. H. Brewster, both called Memphis their home. Equally important is the fact that Memphis was the place where the most important of all the holiness denominations, the Church of God in Christ, was founded and is still based with annual conventions every fall. It was 1895 when Bishop Charles Mason founded the Church and, in its flock, many of the great gospel singers have flourished from Ernestine Washington to contemporary groups like the Clark Sisters.

The sanctified sound of the holiness churches was one that encouraged expressive and irrepressible outpourings of the spirit. The singers were neither afraid to use instruments, nor to let the congregation fully participate by hand clapping, shouts, and joining in. Salvation was participatory and the saints in the pews were there not to let the word wash over them but to have the spirit carry them away. It is the early flowering of the sanctified sound that is represented here in the recordings of Bessie Johnson and Rev. Sister Mary Nelson. The two selections under the name the Memphis Sanctified Singers have a more restrained feeling and feature guitar that may have been by Will Shade of the Memphis Jug Band. This disc is filled out with the complete recorded repertoire of the four selections by Rev. Sister Mary Nelson.

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