This is the follow up to the first volume of Rhino Records’ look at the black gospel of the thirties, forties & fifties (predominately). The series was intended to spotlight various genres of gospel music, but with volume two, they obviously knew what they were doing. Because after listening to an hour of soulful, passionate, raw black gospel, what’s the next thing you want to hear? That’s right: MORE Black Gospel. With volume three of the series, they switched to Country Gospel; on volume four . . . wait, there wasn’t a volume four. Clearly, volume three should have been dedicated to EVEN More Black Gospel. Anyway, reviewing this is kind of silly because, like volume one, it’s exactly what it says it is and it’s awesome. Highlights include Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers on a rousing Jesus I’ll Never Forget and Mahalia Jackson’s rousing version of How I Got Over. On Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, The Harmonizing Four do exactly that and the bass singer legit kicks in the subwoofer. The Nightingales’ Burying Ground is an explosion of pure soul with the rawest lead vocal on the album. The Christland Singers take doo-wop to church with Sell Out to the Master. The Swan Silvertones start out fast and keep getting faster on a frenzied song called My Rock. The Five Blind Boys of Alabama contribute a riff on the Lord’s Prayer called Our Father that is about as far from the sleepy choral renditions you’ve probably heard of the Lord’s Prayer. And the Staples Singers show up with their iconic Uncloudy Day with a husky Mavis Staples vocal and Pop Staples’ watery, distorted guitar providing a haunting backdrop. Anyway, what else is there to say. With only a couple of exceptions, the music here is absolutely first rate. I called Volume 1 essential listening; Volume 2 is nothing less than its predecessor. Keep the praises flowing. 4 stars.
tl;dr – fantastic compilation is just as good as the first volume; almost every song is first rate and the passion and soul can’t be denied. 4 stars.