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When Lyndon Johnson wanted to signal both Congress and the nation that he was determined to pass civil rights legislation, he declared, "we shall overcome." Quoting a well-known "freedom song," Johnson demonstrated how powerfully these songs worked on the national conscience. The re-release of Voices ofthe Civil Rights Movement reminds us anew of how central music was to the movement's success. This two-disc set is a wide-ranging selection ofrecordings made at mass meetings, as well as some made by more formal vocal ensembles. Bernice Johnson Reagon's extensive liner notes explain how black vernacular traditions melded with the struggle's demands to create a unique body of song. Her selections amply display the movement's creative breadth, encompassing both the spoken and the sungword. Thus, we hear not only songs, but chants and sermons as well. Simply reading about how music enlivened and emboldened the movement's participants is not enough. This set fully recaptures the power and righteousness of those "marching on to freedom land." Don Rigsby, A Vision Sugar Hill, 1998 cd 3873,115 Sugar Hill Records, based in Durham, North Carolina, is approaching its twentieth anniversary, and Don Rigsby's inaugural solo album is cause to celebrate the label's longevity. This bluegrass gospel album brisdes witii talent. Rigsby's considerable abilities as a singer and on mandolin are supplemented by standouts like Ricky Skaggs, The Isaacs, and Ralph Stanley. Indeed, Stanley fans will find much to appreciate in Rigsby's album, which not only includes three classic Stanley Brothers tunes, but also features Ralph Stanley on lead vocals for two songs, including "Rose Among the Thorns." A native of Isonville, Kentucky, Rigsby honors his Primitive Baptist faith through a cappella renditions of "Higher Than I" and "Vision of a Golden Crown," which begins with the words of Rigsby's preacher. The album ranges from hard-driving to contemplative and is a promising start for an artist we can hope to hear much more from. 112 Reviews ...


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