Magazine article The New Yorker

Wholly Holy;

Magazine article The New Yorker

Wholly Holy;

Article excerpt

In opera, the devil gets all the best tunes, but in "Goodbye, Babylon," a six-CD boxed set that chronicles American gospel music from the first half of the twentieth century, God gets his share, too. Released by the minuscule Atlanta label Dust-to-Digital, "Goodbye, Babylon" is one of the most impressive collections of gospel recordings ever assembled. Its hundred and thirty-five songs touch on the gospel blues of artists like Blind Willie Johnson and the country gospel of artists like the Carter Family, on raucous string ensembles like the North Carolina Cooper Boys and clean-cut duos like the Blue Sky Boys, on celebrities like Mahalia Jackson and Hank Williams and unknowns like the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet and Stovepipe No. 1. White gospel, black gospel, smooth gospel, rough gospel, vocal gospel, instrumental gospel, Old Testament and New Testament gospel: it's all here, and with cleaned-up sound. The sixth disk is devoted to vintage sermons, including the Reverend J. …

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