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Rev. J.C. Burnett

Beginning in the late '20s, Reverend J.C. Burnett began recording religous sermons, including a popular series released by Columbia. One of the most exciting recordings of gospel music from a strictly secular standpoint was the combination of Burnett, producer Joe Davis, and a group of session musicians Davis chose for the occasion fronted by keyboard player Porter Grainger. Grainger's heavy duty gospel organ bears a fair resemblance to a chicken-fried pork chop with a side of candied yams, but the amount of rehearsal preparation involved in this session would have made a Southerner drop off his porch. A letter from Grainger to Davis, as reported in the latter man's biography Never Sell a Copyright, indicates that the seasoned keyboardist was worried about this session: "Anticipating the probability that something might go wrong, I rehearsed my group so thoroughly that they didn't necessarily need their scores." These tracks originally came out on the Jay Dee label.

The Document label has come up with two seperate volumes from the good Reverend's career, the first focusing completely on the late-'20s recordings. Burnett's recordings are considered influential, but not just on gospel music fans or sinners wanting to be saved: his recordings were favorites of Bob Dylan's long before the star briefly embraced Christianity. One collection of so-called "Dylan cover songs", or songs by other people that Dylan has recorded, includes a Burnett track, or at least one that is credited to him. It is "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," more associated with Appalachia than black gospel, not a typical example of the Reverend but breathtaking when sung by him nonetheless. ~ Eugene Chadbourne
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Gospel: Negro Spirituals-Gospel Songs / 1926-1942

Disc 1

1. Let Your Light Shine On Me

2. Mother's Children Have A Hard Time

3. I'll Go Where You Want Me To Do

4. He's Got His Eyes On You

5. The Need Of Prayer

6. True Friendship

7. Goin' On To Heaven In The Sanctified Way

8. Thou Carest Lord For Me

9. Sign Of The Judgement

10. Take Your Burden To The Lord...

12. Memphis Flu

13. He Got Better Things For You

14. No Hiding Place

15. The Black Diamond Express To Hell (I & II)

16. If You See My Savior

17. Precious Lord, Take My Hand

18. The Prodigal Son

Disc 2

1. Oh, My Lord

2. God Shall Wipe All Tears Away

3. I Want Jesus To Walk Around My Bedside

4. When The Saints Go Marching In

5. When I Stand Before The King

6. Tell Me What Kind Of Man Jesus Is

8. Twelve Gates To The City

9. Moan, You Moaners

10. Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen

11. The Valley Of Time

12. The Sun Didn't Shine

13. Do Lord Send Me

14. Shake Mother's Hand For Me

15. This Train

16. Rock Me

17. I'm Free At Last

18. Wade In The Water

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