King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan

Ropedope.

| Thu Dec. 1, 2005 4:00 AM EST
Best known for her vibrant folk-art paintings, Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900-1980) cut a stark gospel album in New Orleans in the late ?60s. Philadelphia house-music and hip-hop producer King Britt recently devised new backing tracks for Morgan?s insistent, wild-eyed vocals and rattling tambourine. Although such revisionism can smack of cheesy gimmickry, his unlikely hybrid is a glorious success. Britt resists the urge to depict this passionate eccentric as a weirdo, respectfully crafting diverse, satisfying settings for her fiery minisermons. Brooding and bluesy, ?Let?s Make a Record? turns the exhortation ?Praise him!? into an apocalyptic warning, while the wailing harmonica of ?Living Bread? conveys deep yearning. If the funky percussion of ?I Was Healed by the Wounds? reimagines Morgan as a rapper, ?Precious Lord Lead Me On? marries her message to a lovely melody.