Title - Sacred Soul of North Carolina
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, all it took to bring this incredible new album to be was eleven groups in eight days and a marathon recording session in a makeshift storefront studio in a 100-year-old building in the tiny Eastern North Carolina town of Fountain.
Once the idea for the project was in place, Alice Vines of the Glorifying Vines Sisters started calling local musicians. It didn’t take her long to line up almost a dozen groups to come lift their voices and represent the region’s unique Sacred Soul traditions.
When the groups on this new recording Sacred Soul of North Carolina (out October 15th, 2021 via Bible and Tire Recording Co.) gathered to record in February of 2020, they couldn’t have known that the world was on the heels of a global pandemic, or that the year would bring great turmoil and social upheavals.
But in the reality created by gospel songs even the greatest of trials are not surprising, nor can they be ultimately devastating. Every time singers stepped up to the mic during these sessions, they created a sonic world where no amount of bad news can undermine the truth of The Good News.
Even when “you can’t really see a solution to what you’re dealing with at the moment,” says Kiamber Daniels of Faith and Harmony, singing gospel music will remind you, “hey, I’m still here; I got what it takes to make it through this. It will give you a sense of peace.”
1. Dedicated Men of Zion - ‛Can’t Turn Me Around’
2. Dedicated Men of Zion - ‛It’s A Shame’
3. The Glorifying Vines Sisters - ‛Tell It All To Jesus’
4. Johnny Ray Daniels - ‛Somewhere To Lay My Head’
5. Johnny Ray Daniels - ‛Glory Glory’
6. Big James Barrett & The Golden Jubilees - ‛Tell It’
7. Big James Barrett & The Golden Jubilees - ‛Use Me Lord’
8. Big Walt & The Faithful Jordanairs - ‛Ask God In Faith’
9. Faith & Harmony - ‛Victory’
10. Faith & Harmony - ‛We Will Work’
11. The Johnsonairs - ‛He’s Coming Again’
12. The Johnsonairs - ‛Trying To Make It’
13. Bishop Albert Harrison & The Gospel Tones - ‛Shake Me’
14. Bishop Albert Harrison & The Gospel Tones - ‛Stand Up’
15. Little Willie & The Fantastic Spiritualaires - ‛I Want To Be Ready’
16. Little Willie & The Fantastic Spiritualaires - ‛Have You Tried Jesus’
17. Marvin Earl "Blind Butch" Cox - ‛No Ways Tired’
18. Melody Harper - ‛Amazing Grace’
This quite stunningly authentic, earthy and profoundly spirited new blues-gospel collection opens on two from the Dedicated Men of Zion, in the form of the grounded blues of ‛Can’t Turn Me Around’ and the blues hipsway of ‛It’s A Shame,’ and those are backed up seamlessly by the arms raised, hypnotic rhythms of The Glorifying Vines Sisters on ‛Tell It All To Jesus,’ and then we get a duo from Johnny Ray Daniels, the hand-clapping, foot-tapping ‛Somewhere To Lay My Head’ and the smooth blues, gently funky roll of ‛Glory Glory.’
Up next is the dulcetly crafted funk of two from Big James Barrett & The Golden Jubilees, the first being ‛Tell It’ and then the clap-along hipsway of ‛Use Me Lord’ which are in turn followed by the deep vocal tones of Big Walt & The Faithful Jordanairs with ‛Ask God In Faith’ and a couple from Faith & Harmony, the acoustically harmonized ‛Victory’ and the joyous sing-along of ‛We Will Work.’
Then we are presented more stand out tracks, in my humble opinion, in the form of a duo from The Johnsonairs, the first an acapella ‛He’s Coming Again’ the second a rousing ‛Trying To Make It’ and they are backed by two from Bishop Albert Harrison & The Gospel Tones, the one-two blues-gospel rhythmic shuffle of ‛Shake Me’ and an acapella ‛Stand Up,’ a couple from Alabama’s (and now sadly late) Little Willie & The Fantastic Spiritualaires, the exuberant ‛I Want To Be Ready’ and the a quite vibrantly, uplifting and soulful ‛Have You Tried Jesus,’ the album rounding out on the low slung, ’70s Hammond-imbibed ‛No Ways Tired’ from Marvin Earl “Blind Butch” Cox, closing on a simply Heavenly divine rendition of ‛Amazing Grace’ by Melody Harper.
Sacred Soul of North Carolina (Official Documentary Feature)
Amazon CD Purchase Link