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Rev F W McGee Vol 1 1927 - 1929

Highlighted by Jonah in the Belly of the Whale and With His Stripes We Are Healed, which together combined for one of the biggest “race records” of its time, the first volume in this retrospective of the career of Rev. F.W. McGee assembles some of the finest gospel sides of the pre-war era. Opening with Lion of the Tribe of Judah, McGee’s lone recording for Okeh and a prime example of the sanctified tradition, the disc also includes The Crooked Made Straight and Rock of Ages, both of which are fascinating attempts to combine congregrational singing with impassioned preaching. - Jason Ankeny

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Rev F W McGee Vol 2 1929 - 1930

With the second volume in the series, Rev. F.W. McGee’s gospel style turns almost exclusively to straightahead preaching, with only minimal musical backing. It’s not that much of a stretch to suggest that this kind of gospel is a kind of early precursor to rap — the rhythms and patterns of McGee’s preaching are highly musical, and his wordplay on sides like Women’s Clothes (You Can’t Hide) and Testifyin’ Meeting is lyrical and imaginative. While these sermonizing records are by no means the place for new listeners to begin, for historians they offer fascinating insight into another of the many facets of the pre-war gospel sound. – Jason Ankeny

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