Various Artists

Classic African American Gospel

Gospel music is the forgotten root of American pop. Blues, jazz, rock, R&B, soul, folk and all kinds of black and white American spiritual music trace their sound and structure to the music captured on this disc. “Jesus Going to Make Up My Dying Bed,” sung a cappella here by Horace Sprott, was cut by Dylan on his first album. Guitarist and preacher Rev. Gary Davis delivers “If I Had My Way,” a ragtime gospel tune; Peter, Paul and Mary made it a folk “hit.” In Brother John Sellers’ arrangement of “He’s My Rock,” you can hear blues, jazz and soul. And the testifying of the unidentified woman singer on the Mississippi Mass Choir’s “We Praise Your Holy Name” will scorch the soul of any listener, atheist or saved. Say hallelujah!