- Released: July 9, 1991
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
The Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir includes: Willie James McPhatter (vocals, piano); Margaret Simpson, Kathleen Lane, Calvin White, Reverend Means, Faytha Drayton, Bessie Lewis, Lester Ware, Clarence Drayton (vocals).
Additional personnel: Alex Bradford (piano); Dickie Mitchell (organ); Pola Roberts (drums).
Producer: John Hammond.
Reissue producer: Nedra Olds-Neal.
Originally released at (8348). Includes liner notes by Leonard Goines.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
Through its Legacy imprint, Columbia Records has done a fine job of reissuing the older classic recordings in its vaults, even those with limited commercial appeal. The label has been particularly kind in this regard to fans of old gospel music, a relatively small but fervent lot. SHAKIN' THE RAFTERS is but one example of the label's preservationist instincts. This 1960 recording of Newark's excellent Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir has long been held in high regard by old-style gospel fans but has been relatively unknown to fans outside that circle. With luck, this reissue will rectify the situation.
Under the guidance of Professor Alex Bradford, the Abyssinian Baptist Gospel Choir grew from just another local outfit to the predominant Baptist gospel group in the area. Part of the group's success was due to wide exposure via citywide radio. The larger part, however, was the result of Bradford's gifts for writing and arranging in the classic call-and-response gospel style. The tracks on SHAKIN' THE RAFTERS demonstrate a powerful and dramatic bifurcation between a gifted soloist and a 120-voice choir.