Various Artists - This May be My Last Time Singing [Tompkins Square - 2011]“This May be My Last Time Singing” is an varied, rewarding & mostly consistent three CD disc compilation of raw African American Gospel music dating from between 1957 & 1982. This is a sequel of sorts to the excellent 3 disc African American gospel collection “Fire In my Bones” which also appeared on Tompkins Square label in 2009, and both compilations are collected/Curatored by avid rare Gospel record collector Mike McGonigal.
Over the three discs there’s 73 tracks on offer, and these go from the most heart warming & melodic to the most badly recorded, often rowdy & noisy gospel songs. Many of the tracks here are taken from self released church, congregation or preacher 45’s which where pressed in very small numbers- so one often gets very quirky, distinctive and one-off forms of gospel praise, as of course there were little or no real commercial constants to many of these records.
Over the three discs there’s a lot of sonic variation going from plain foot stomping gospel, to soulful summons & drifts, onto garage rock-outs, through to stripped preacher rants, onto sweet singing gospel boy band vocalising with jingle bound guitar backing, through to distorted organ groove-outs, onto slightly wayward yet soaring doo-wop song craft, through to primal & worn vocalising over hacking ‘n’ churning discordant guitar strums, onto wow pedal licked rock ‘n’ roll grooves, through to over-running drum machine meets wondering bass lines & billowing gospel praise. I could really go on and on, as each new track here is a surprise and wonder in it’s self…you really don’t know what to expect next.
The collection comes with a wonderful informative & researched 24 page booklet which takes in short essays about the collection, original release artwork, artists pictures, and most rewarding a little write up on each & ever track here- listing the tracks origin & often some quirky fact related to each track.
“This May be My Last Time Singing” is another highly varied, enjoyable & often surprising collection of long lost & often quirky takes on the gospel song craft. Of interest to anyone who enjoys passionate, sometimes off- kilter, and diverse songs of praise.Roger Batty