AUM Fidelity is distributing in August, 2003, a historical release of a collection recordings made between 1970-78 by Reverend Charlie Jackson from CaseQuarter Records in Montgomery, Alabama. Reverend Charlie Jackson exemplifies one of the quintessential gospel singers, whose use of guitar as accompaniment places him in a category all his own. Because the original tape recordings have been lost, this recording was created by copying the Booker and Jackson label singles. The sound does not reverberate and is essentially flat. The fortune is that these songs are available. They invite encouragement and offer sustenance and inspire clapping and moving along with the pulse.
In a time of a general spiritual longing in the American culture, this release can bring to the attention of its audience, comprised hopefully of listeners who are outside of the Black American Baptist Church, a basic model for praying to God, for speaking to God, to calling to God in song. Not all of the songs are sung solely by Rev. Jackson; he is joined in several tunes by a small group of men and women.
This recording rises above the necessity for concentration on the nature of the performance of the music. The rhythms are lively, the notes are often in the blues scale and a retard dynamic is pervasive and absolutely predictable when some of the words are spoken and then launch into melodies. However, this recording is also and significantly about the words. The words convey the meaning of how it is to believe that we are all in God’s hands, no matter what the situation. Rev. Jackson’s autobiographical song about his own health is among the group. We look to God to support us, to help us determine our destinies. When we sing and move with the rhythms of the music, we can express our faith through a language that is not so difficult to speak. It is a language that unifies us in a community of spirit whether we are alone or with others.
Descriptions of different circumstances from one hymn to another are metaphors for a position for prayer, a position for self-reflection, a position for releasing control, a position for embracing humility so that we may know that God Will Provide. All we have to do is put on our traveling clothes and at the beckoning call of the conductor, Our Saviour, simply get on board.