Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dorothy Love-Coates & the Gospel Harmonettes: The Best of Dorothy Love-Coates & the Gospel Harmonettes [Nashboro, 1996]
Although Coates's rough-cut contralto steers her away from the stately professions of faith that bog down Mahalia Jackson and Marion Williams, the honorable Specialty best-of from her '50s glory days is still somewhat homogenized by its own humility. Captured here in the late '60s, she's wilder and faster, with plenty of guitar-organ-percussion augmenting the churchy piano. In short, she rocks. With the Harmonettes shouting, testifying, and showing off their high notes, the total effect is as awesome as any God-fearer could hope. A