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    Devil Is Busy In Knoxville, The [coll] – [Mississippi Records]


    Many things flow from the mighty Mississippi (label), and
    here some 78’s wash up, cleaned up and darn near baptised.
    Despite the title of the album (a presumed nod to Leola
    Manning’s “The Devil Is Busy in Knoxville”) this is no
    collection of murder ballads, but instead his grace and pearly
    gates, where “Fify Miles of Elbow Room” await us. The
    harmonies on here are downright heavenly. Not just frequent
    angel-wing fliers like the Carter Family but the straight
    collar sweet hollar of the Anglin Brothers and the Delmore
    Brothers (connecting to Palace and Everly brothers in my
    sacred heart and scarred ears). Of course the purest
    chorus comes from the mouth of babes, and “Chariot Jubilee”
    sounds like it could almost be a pacific island sublime
    frequency call and response chat. Too short. If you want
    a little hint of the apple polished by the serpent, check
    out the rough and ready work of Elder Richard Bryant’s
    Sanctified Singers, or the Silent Grove Baptist Church
    Congregation (the shadowy bass accompaniment behind
    the powerhouse unknown lead male vocal defying the Grave).
    Is Rev I.B. Ware a real person, I reckon so but his sentiment
    “I Wouldn’t Mind Dying” closes this album, which also
    features the cover lady, the mighty Sister Rosetta Tharpe
    belting out a tune from her thinner days, and holding a
    note too high and pure for any devil to touch. Sing on
    sister and brothers, sing on right on past the grave.

    -Br’er ‘Unger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Blues
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