Buoyed by the success of Volumes I and II, the prolific Rev. Timothy Flemming, Sr. has released yet a third volume of Old Time Camp Meeting Songs.
Recorded live at the Macon City Auditorium in Macon, Georgia, Old Time Camp Meeting Songs – Volume III reminds us that there was a soul-stirring sound in the church long before gospel music took hold. Rev. Flemming takes the listener way, way, way back, leading old fashioned, largely unaccompanied call-and-response congregational hymn and spiritual singing. Think Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress field recordings, but in stereo. The recording is also reminiscent of Dr. C.J. Johnson’s classic “Old Time Prayer Meeting” LPs for Savoy. Dr. Johnson’s albums were recorded in the 1960s, but the content was rooted in the 1860s.
In particular, Rev. Flemming’s version of “Old Ship of Zion” brings to mind Rev. C.L. Franklin’s popular 1950s 2-part single of the spiritual for J-V-B and Chess. As with Rev. Franklin’s recording, Rev. Flemmons preaches and leads the congregation in a tsunami wave of sound punctuated by participants losing themselves in the Spirit.
Of course, I shook my head in disbelief at the CD cover, depicting “The Little Man with the Big Voice” wearing what can only be described as 19th Century country attire, but if anyone can get away with it, Rev. Flemmings can. His point – that this is “little wooden Baptist church on the hill” style music – is evident the second the singing starts.