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Children of the Heav'nly King: Religious Expression in the Central Blue Ridge Rounder, 1998 CD I506 & I 507, $25.00 Between 1978 and 1979 die Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project systematically documented die expressive culture ofan eight-county area straddling die VirginiaNorth Carolina border. From this study comes die material for two cds containing visions, singing, prophesies, prayers, and sermons. Sampling both white and black congregations, and roaming from churches to the baptismal river, the material is broad and deeply personal. Leonard Bryan describes his conversion, Edgar Cassel recounts his struggles with God after being called to be "a fisher of men," and Reverend Robert Akers, despite being exhausted, sings "What a Time We're Living In" because "people could request it tonight and be gone tomorrow and dien I'd always regret that I didn't sing it." A ninety-six-page booklet provides context as well as a comparative discography for the musical selections, which range from lined-out hymns to gospel favorites. Taken together, the material paints a full, coherent, and moving portrait ofreligious expression in the central Blue Ridge. The North Carolina Banjo Collection Rounder, 1998 cd 1439 & I44°> $25.00 From 1787, when a traveler visiting North Carolina made the first known reference to a banjo in the Tar Heel state, to the present day, the banjo has been a persistent part ofthat state's musical history. The North Carolina Banjo Collection, a twoCD set with an accompanying booklet, seeks to provide an overview of banjo Reviews 117 techniques and tunes from across the state. Alive to the variations caused by both race and region, the cds combine historic recordings widi more recent fieldtapes . The result is an interesting mix of styles that demonstrate the creativity this magical instrument has inspired. Those not already well-acquainted witii banjo performers and their repertoire may find the annotations sometimes sketchy and obscure. But since the performances—more than two hours' worth—stand on their own, banjo-lovers will find plenty to engage diem. Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions Smidisonian Folkways, 1996 cd 40076, $42.00; each cd also available individually (40072-40075 ), $14.00 Fans of Bernice Johnson Reagon's award-winning radio series "Wade in the Water" will be delighted to see diis four-CD set. Taking a historical approach, each cd spotlights one tradition and traces its development and influence. Volume one contains spirituals arranged for the concert stage; volume two examines the nineteenth-century roots of congregational singing; and die last two cds follow the history and influence oftwentieth-century gospel music from the perspective of both composers and congregations. Each cd has liner notes that provide information about the performers, words to the songs, and briefessays that set die music in historical and aesthetic context. For a set determined to portray the richness of black sacred music over time and place, the lack of any recordings made before the 1990s is disappointing. This does not detract from the material already present; it only leaves the listener in the enviable position of having been so moved as to thirst for more. 118 Reviews ...


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