I've always said to my friends that this disc is the best $2.99 I ever spent. but little did I realise what exactly that meant until yesterday I decided to look it up on amazon, and saw a single used copy for sale at $999.00 (now it's unavailable because I guess someone bought it. hmmmm... wonder if I should sell my copy?)
a radio dj in LA I know gave me the initial heads-up on the out-of-the-way and entirely unhip little discount store in Los Feliz called East Side Records (closed down about 6 mnths ago). and over the course of the next year or 2 i had taken the habit of stopping by when I was in the area because they had an always amazingly stocked world-music section full of Ocora and Auvidis titles - which the regular patrons, people in their 40s or 50s who would look at home sitting all night in some shady dive-bar, entirely ignored in favor of the pop section or the cheap DVD movies. on one of the rare days that i was poking around the country section, which was as neglected as the world-music, i saw this disc. knowing nothing about gospel music at the time, brought it to the quiet, lanky man who owned the shop. he looked at the names on the back and immediately said "oh yeah. this is the real thing. Chicago Sanctified Singers, Thomas Dorsey, Rev. Gary Davis. yup, you can't go wrong with this".
and from the first 10 seconds of the first tune i realised that the man was right - just the sweetest aching, soul stirring music ever. voices that soared straight up to heaven or just relaxing on the corner, instruments that did what they were there to do without any over-embellishment... the selection is pretty much all 1930s Chicago, and the quality and quantity is rare on any compilation of any genre. many, many highlights on here but one of them is this jacked-up, hand-clapping monster of a tune about Judgement Day, and the first time I heard it I said "God almighty House Music really DID come from Chicago!!!"
1930s gospel roots of House? wha? - just bump track 7 and crank that shit up - you'll see what I mean :)