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Ev'ry Time I Feel The Spirit / Derek Lee Ragin


Release Date: 08/19/1993 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 29912   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee RaginMoses Hogan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Vocal Ensemble Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length:  1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Of the various qualities which make spirituals special, one is the presence of a great excitement, restrained more often than not, and all the more infectious because of that. Another is the sense that, although the individual voice speaks (or sings) for the race, the utterance is also personal and inner. The performances here catch these two features very well. In the first song, Ole time religion, words and tune are so simple and, in a sense, unexciting, that everything depends on an inner and perhaps inborn feeling for an unstated rhythmic accompaniment or counterpoint: these singers have it, and though a choir of white vocalists might be able to pick up something of this ability it may be doubted whether they would ever be able to use Read more it in the same way. For the second quality, the inwardness, a good example is Deep River, sung very quietly and simply, as a solo, but with a sense of yearning that is no nominal bit of pious convention but an intense wish and at the same time a real, practical proposition.

The matter of arrangements is always a tricky one. Personally, I can't bear it if I feel that somebody is being 'clever' over them: ingenious (to add variety), or, worse, 'cute' (to make us feel folksy and big-hearted), or, worse still, glitzy in providing lavish resources (so as to 'bring them up-todate'). What we have here are, mostly, the first concert-arrangements of all, by Harry Thacker Burleigh, a black musician who worked with DvoIák and who wrote sensitively attuned piano accompaniments; the others are nearly all arranged by the pianist and choirmaster, Moses Hogan, who writes in much the same tradition. To my mind, granted that they have in some degree become art-songs, all has been well done.

It is surprising how little time it takes to accept that here is a male alto singing, and then to forget about it and listen to it simply as singing. Derek Lee Ragin's voice is produced very naturally, is effective over a wide range, and often has a quite beautiful quality; but I think I like best what I feel to be the prevailing sincerity. The choir achieves a fine blend, and when its director plays the piano he does so with a rightness of touch that earns gratitude throughout.

-- Gramophone [8/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ole time religion by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Vocal Ensemble Choir
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Hogan 
2.
Witness by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto), Moses Hogan (Piano)
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Johnson 
3.
Steal away to Jesus by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto), Moses Hogan (Piano)
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Burleigh 
4.
Little David, play on your harp by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto), Moses Hogan (Piano)
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Notes: arr Burleigh 
5.
Heaven by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Vocal Ensemble Choir
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Hogan 
6.
Oh, what a beautiful city by Traditional
Performer:  Moses Hogan (Piano), Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Boatner 
7.
This little light of mine by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
8.
Ev'ry time I feel the spirit by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Vocal Ensemble Choir
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Hogan 
9.
Give me Jesus by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Vocal Ensemble Choir
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Language: English 
Notes: arr Hogan 
10.
Deep river by Traditional
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Alto), Moses Hogan (Piano)
Written: USA 
Venue:  Lawless Chapel, Dill 
Notes: arr Burleigh 

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