AMEN! Fanny Crosby, Dwight Moody and Other Saints: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900

If you wanna hear some of “that Ol’ Time Religion,” you’re going to get it here. This 3 cd set by Archeophone Records has a set of some of the very earliest music and speaking from the Evangelical “Second Awakening.” Probably the only known recordings of the famed Fanny Crosby, the famed blind composer of 2000+ songs such as “To God Be The Glory” and “Blessed Assurance,” are here, as with the equally important music composer Ira D Sankey. Some speaking by the famous evangelist Dwight Moody is captured here, as are some Christian Classics such as “Rock of Ages” by none less than the United States Marine Band! A stomping read of “Onward Christian Soldiers” (did you know it was composed by Arthur Sullivan of “Gilbert and Sullivan” fame?) is a delight as well.

The discs are arranged in categories of a) Commercial b) Celebrity and c) Vernacular, mixing songs with speeches and sermons. The sound quality has an understandable hiss, but you can understand everything said and sung, so the Holy Spirit can work on you while you’re taking it in. This collection is like time travelling, making you feel like you’re at a turn of the century revival tent meeting. It’s actually amazing that so many of these songs are still being used in worship. How many of todays music will be remembered 100+ years from now? As CS Lewis once said, “Anything that is not eternally focused is eternally obsolete.”

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