BiographyGospel music progenitor Washington Phillips' stark hymnal blues served as a foundation for much of the African-American spiritual music that followed it. The only document of his work is a collection of field recordings made in the 1920s, but each song is a gem. Marked by the gentle, tinkling sound of Phillips' chosen instrument, the dolceola, these archaic spirituals can be devastating in power while maintaining their soft tranquility. Phillips' somewhat harsh voice is tempered by the music box-like sound of his picking, creating a truly unique sound that can be heard almost nowhere else. This will appeal to fans of the blues as well as Gospel. In Phillips' able hands, songs that were old in the '20s sound new, even today.
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