The Gospel Spirit

The Gospel Spirit

by Bill Monroe



While many country artists have made inspirational singles or albums on an occasional specialty basis, rather like making a Christmas record, but spent most of their recording careers performing secular material, bluegrass music tends to admit religious subject matter as one of its constants, not, perhaps quite as frequent a topic as lost love, but fairly close. Thus, the Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys' entry in MCA Nashville's series of discount-priced 2004 compilations called Gospel Spirit (there are also discs by Loretta Lynn, the Statler Brothers, and Conway Twitty) is really just a distillation of some of the group's regular recordings for the most part. Among the 16 tracks, six were cut for a 1958 religious LP, I Saw the Light, but the rest, drawn from singles dating back to 1950, are just bluegrass songs that happen to treat Christian themes, starting with a version of the Carter Family's "I'm Working on a Building," cut in 1954. One gets to hear different versions of the band. The earliest track, 1950s "I'll Meet You in Church Sunday Morning," features Monroe with his brother Birch Monroe, Jimmy Martin, and Joel Price, while the I Saw the Light tracks recorded eight years later use Edd Mayfield, Bessie Mae Mauldin or Culley Holt, Kenny Baker, and Gordon Terry (with producer Owen Bradley sitting in on an un-bluegrass-like organ on "Precious Memories," "Life's Railway to Heaven," and the closing track, "Wayfaring Stranger"). But Monroe's high tenor remains distinctive, whether playing off lead vocalists Martin, Mayfield, Charlie Cline (on 1955's "Let the Light Shine Down on Me"), or even Carter Stanley (on 1951's "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray"). And the music remains true to the high-lonesome sound of Bill Monroe's bluegrass. It's just that the lyrics on these tracks are all reverent.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/24/2004
Label: Mca Nashville
UPC: 0602498628669
catalogNumber: 000290702

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bill Monroe   Primary Artist,Mandolin,Vocals
Grady Martin   Guitar
Gordon Terry   Fiddle,Bass (Vocal)
Owen Bradley   Organ
Charlie Cline   Baritone (Vocal)
Buddy Killen   Bass,Bass (Vocal)
Rudy Lyle   Banjo,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Jimmy Martin   Guitar,Vocals
Bessie Lee Mauldin   Bass
Edd Mayfield   Guitar,Vocals
Ernie Newton   Bass,Bass Guitar
Carter Stanley   Guitar,Vocals
Howard Watts   Bass
Farris Coursey   Drums
Milton Estes   Bass (Vocal),Vocals
Culley Holt   Bass,Bass (Vocal)
Birch Monroe   Bass (Vocal)
Joel Price   Bass,Baritone (Vocal)
Jackie Phelps   Guitar
Jimmy Selph   Guitar
Birch Monroe   Vocals
Joel Price   Vocals

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
Merle Travis   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Colin Escott   Inlay Photography
Bessie Lee Mauldin   Composer
Andy McKaie   Producer
Hank Williams   Composer
Albert E. Brumley   Composer
Leverett   Cover Photo
Public Domain   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Dottie Swan   Composer

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