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Daily Record 1/9/11: Fire In My Bones–Raw + Rare + Otherworldly African-American Gospel [1944-2007] (2009)

In 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, compilations, gospel, religion, rhythm and blues, Rich's House of Vinyl, soul on January 10, 2011 at 3:05 am

I’m warning you: I am in the waning hours of a two-week vacation and probably ought to get to bed soon, so this may be short. That’s OK though, since I will be revisiting today’s Daily Record, Fire In My Bones–Raw + Rare + Otherworldly African-American Gospel [1944-2007]  in a few weeks.

Fire In My Bones is a three-disc compilation of more than five dozen gospel tunes in a huge variety of styles, released over a period of more than 60 years. The songs here are peaceful and raucous; beautiful and strange; restrained and way over the top. The one common factor the songs share is that, one way or another, each of these songs is about God. Most of these songs never reached a wide audience.

I was introduced to Fire In My Bones by my friend Ed W. Once in a while somebody writes about a certain album in such a way that I realize it is imperative that I check it out. Ed’s enthusiastic review of this collection was one of those times.

I think Fire In My Bones is a wonderful, mystical, wild collection of music, one that you need not be a believe to appreciate on some level. The thing about this collection though is that is so expansive and the styles are so varied that listening to and truly digesting the whole thing is a daunting task. I’ve owned Fire In My Bones for two years now, and while I can say I’ve heard every single song on it (I think; not sure if I’ve listened to it straight through), I also have to admit that I’ve barely skimmed the surface of Fire In My Bones, not just musically, but philosophically.

Religion is so much on many people’s minds these days that it’s hard to listen to Fire In My Bones only within the context of itself, as a purely musical experience. Though it is probably true that Fire In My Bones is most spiritual when it is experienced as a purely musical experience, removed from all the static that seems to be associated with religion.

Anyway, in order to get some kind of grasp on Fire In My Bones, I’ve decided to take it one disc at a time, beginning with the first, which is subtitled “The Wicked Shall Cease From Troubling.”   A few Sundays down the line, I’ll move on to the second disc and on another Sunday after that, the third. When I get around to those discs, I’ll try to pin down a little bit more precisely what all of this might mean to me.

Until then, I’ll simply wish you a good week.

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