Down Beat - p.794.5 stars out of 5
-- "The quality of the supercharged music stays at a high level all the way."
Billboard (p.32) - "This three-disc compilation collects 80 recordings of various unpolished styles, in all their haunting glory....Essential for anyone interested in gospel..."
Paste (magazine) (p.67) - "[S]o gritty and genuine that it seems to emanate from below....An equally inspirational and informative document of American soul."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.985 stars out of 5
-- "[C]ompelling....Most of the 80s selections were originally issued on independent regional labels with many of the musicians either street-corner evangelists, storefront church preachers, family bands or congregational groups."
Liner Note Author: Mike McGonigal.
Photographers: Axel Kuestner; Mark Weber.
Fire in My Bones is an absolutely magnificent gospel music collection. Not because its quality is consistently high -- it isn't -- but precisely because everything about it is so delightfully all-over-the-place. If your experience with African-American gospel music has been mainly limited to incidental encounters with the Golden Gate Quartet or Mahalia Jackson, then prepare to be startled: on this sprawling three-disc set, which covers more than 60 years of mostly obscure gospel recordings, you'll hear the deeply spooky "Wasn't That a Mystery" (performed by the Madison County Senior Center Singers), the even spookier "Get Back Satan" (by Rev. Roger L. Worthy and his sister Bonnie Woodstock), the heartrendingly beautiful "Does Jesus Care" (by Marie Knight), and the irresistibly funky "Help Me" (by Lula Collins). In a few instances the sound quality is poor enough to be a barrier to enjoyment of the music, but in most cases where the recording is particularly ragged, it only adds to the music's often otherworldly beauty. A few tracks, such as the Rev. Utah Smith's "God's Mighty Hand" and the jaw-dropping "Prayer (Excerpt)/I Love the Lord," blur the distinction between sermon and song -- on the latter track, the congregation's singing rises and falls like an enormous whale coming to the surface. A few of these tracks really are clunkers, but frankly, even those come as something of a relief, giving your ears and heart a moment of rest before being lifted inexorably up again. Fantastic. ~ Rick Anderson