Various Artists – Document Records, Preachers And Congregation Vol. 1 (1927-1938)

Mike McGonigal

By Mike McGonigal

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
This Rev. Sunday is not messing around one bit.

This recorded sermon begins innocuously enough, with a bit of song. We hear the tail end of "Down by the Riverside," a piano-led small chorus sing a line or two, and then we plunge from "Ain't gonna study war no more" into true fire-and-brimstone preaching. Black Billy Sunday was the alias of the Wisconsin-based Rev. Dr. McPherson, who recorded in the late 1920s / early 1930s. He'd named himself after the infamous baseball-playing preacher, Billy Sunday. This Rev. Sunday is not messing around one bit. The piece has the length, timbre and intensity of the darkest punk rock, but it's so single-minded and forceful, it's far scarier. Sunday doesn't bother with being witty and topical. Instead, he declaims "Unless you change your ways and give up your old habits, you will spend your eternity in hell. In hell!" The dude shouts "in hell" more times than you can count — even if you are trained in the mathematical sciences.