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Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee's Bend


Boykin, Alabama - Sacred Spirituals of G

Artist: Gee's Bend Quilters

Title: Boykin, Alabama: Sacred Spirituals of Gee's Bend

Available: 2/15/2019

"Music and art have real power to heal, to bring us together,

to lift us up." - Bill Frisell

"It's an honest document of a community's rich social and spiritual life as reflected in songs sung in church and at collective work, quilting." - Living Blues


“The massively uplifting impact of the Quilters’ four earthy, uncannily complementary voices is miraculous, and it’s something of a revelation to receive into your soul such earnest, dedicated performances. Big voices, big time inspiration.” - Folk Radio


"Don't have time to go to church? This is the next best thing." - Elmore Magazine


This all newly recorded album is a collection of 20 sacred spirituals of the South including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, “Amazing Grace”, “Steal Away” and many others, sung by four of Gee’s Bend quilters, Mary Ann Pettway, China Pettway, Larine Pettway and Nancy Pettway. The recording session has been made at Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, over a period of 3 years from May 2015 to June 2017. This is the debut recording for these four quilters, and you can hear their unique, emotional, and beautiful singing style, which the quilters have been preserving over centuries, in the isolated African-American community surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River.


Says China: “While quilting, I sing because it’s a sound of whistling humming God gave me. Quilting is a healing, just like singing. I think quilting and singing is a healing for our soul. This record should be heard over the whole world because somebody will see the light. Psalm 100:2 says we serve the Lord with gladness come before his presence with singing.”


The tradition of Gee’s Bend quilts goes back to the 19thcentury. This African-American art is now one of the most important black cultures in the United States. “Boykin, Alabama – Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend” is another side of this great African-American tradition inherited for generations.


“Boykin, Alabama – Sacred Spirituals of Gee’s Bend” Track Listing:

  1. Soundcheck (0:27)

  2. Give Me My Flowers (3:10)

  3. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (3:22)

  4. Sit At Jesus’ Feet (3:31)

  5. Remember (2:41)

  6. Amazing Grace (2:14)

  7. Said I Wouldn’t Gonna Tell Nobody (2:11)

  8. Jesus Lifted Me (3:35)

  9. Steal Away (4:11)

  10. Satisfy With Jesus (5:38)

  11. Hallelujah (3:09)

  12. Shine On Me (2:30)

  13. This Little Light Of Mine (3:34)

  14. I’ll Go (2:49)

  15. Do Lord Remember Me (3:03)

  16. Last Miles (3:27)

  17. Moving By The Power (3:50)

  18. Sit Down Servant (3:20)

  19. Old Landmarks (3:06)

  20. Fix Me Jesus (3:30)

*Gee’s Bend Quilters: Mary Ann Pettway, China Pettway, Larine Pettway and Nancy Pettway

*Recorded: 3/21/2016 and 6/5/2017 at Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective, Boykin AL


*Liner Notes by Bill Frisell

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