Washington Phillips – Denomination Blues Part 1

In the late 1920s, gospel music performer Washington Phillips recorded 16 songs. The songs featured Phillips’ voice and an home-made instrument, — some argued not a Dolceola, but a common fretless zither (possibly both of the Phonoharps in the photo above.)  The instrument(s) add an ethereal effect to Phillips’ voice (on first listen, I thought I was hearing the voice of a woman, a trace of Nina Simone.) Earlier this year, Dust-to-Digital, a record company based in Atlanta, Georgia released Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music (1924 – 1940) and Photography (1890 – 1950) – a 96-page hardbound book containing amazing historic images and an incredible 25-track CD of songs and sermons. It’s available everywhere.



  1. I keep bugging my friend for these field recordings he did in rural Louisiana at revivals back in the 90s, this reminds me to bug more. The few I’ve heard have been mindblowing. I’ll send em to you.

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