Drop Me In the Water

Paul Harvey

Jim Linderman's new work Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography, looks to be a classic for collectors of Americana, afficionados of photography, and lovers of earlier twentieth century music. It's published by Dust-to-Digital, which also produced what is for me the greatest compilation of American religious music ever, the 6 CD set Goodbye Babylon, and more recently has put out the 2nd volume of Art Rosenblum's Art of Field Recording

Take Me to the Water from Dust-to-Digital on Vimeo.

View a video of the newest work here. The writer Luc Sante is involved in this project as well.

Some blurbs and reviews, to pique your interest:

Featuring photographs Jim Linderman collected over a ten year period with a CD of historic early gospel songs and sermons from prominent collections compiled by Steven Lance Ledbetter. Essays by Jim Linderman, Luc Sante and comprehensive notes by Ledbetter. Dust-To-Digital is an Grammy winning reissue label.

"Instantly become(s) the definitive volume on the subject"-- Joey Lin Anonymous Works May 2009

"One is reminded of the commonality of the human experience...I can put it on any time and immediately feel a sense of renewal and relief"-- Other Music Newsletter May 2009

"Raw, unvarnished emotion...leaps out. Whatever your beliefs, you'd have to be made of ice yourself not to be moved by the spirit coursing through the images and music of Take Me to the Water."-- El Toro Weird at My School June 2009

"Just Wonderful...like you've stumbled upon a forgotten box of family photos hidden in a mildewed corner of the basement"-- Anne Kristoff The Southernist June 2009

"Gorgeous...collected over the years by Jim Linderman, a character who seems the perfect subject for a Harvey Pekar comic. Faith isn't a requisite for finding the power in either the visual or aural representations of this tradition. The transportive properties are immediate and lasting. ...Potent tokens of time and place."-- Derek Taylor Dusted Magazine June 2009

Here's what is on the CD that comes with the volume:

1. Baptize Me (Rev. J. M. Gates) 2. Denomination Blues part 1 (Washington Phillips) 3. John the Baptist (Rev. Moses Mason) 4. Bathe in That Beautiful Pool (Dock Walsh) 5. On My Way to Canaan’s Land (Carter Family) 6. Old Time Baptism part I (Rev. R. M. Massey) 7. Old Time Baptism part II (Rev. R. M. Massey) 8. Go Wash in the Beautiful Stream (Southern Wonders Quartet) 9. I’ll Be Washed (Carolina Tar Heels) 10. Wash You, Make You Clean (Elder J. E. Burch) 11. Baptist Shout (Frank Jenkins of Da Costa Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters) 12. At The River (Tennessee Mountaineers) 13. Wade in de Water (Empire Jubilee Quartet) 14. Baptism at Burning Bush (Rev. Nathan Smith's Burning Bush Sunday School Pupils) 15. Sister Lucy Lee (Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers) 16. Wade in the Water and Be Baptized (Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers) 17. I’m Going Down to Jordan (Ernest Thompson) 18. Go Wash in Jordan Seven Times (Rev. J. C. Burnett) 19. Wade in the Water (Birmingham Jubilee Singers) 20. Goin’ Down to the River of Jordan (J. E. Mainer’s Mountaineers) 21. Baptism by Water, and Baptism by the Holy Ghost (Elder J. E. Burch) 22. Go Wash in the Beautiful Stream (Moses Mason) 23. Wade in the Water (Sunset Four Jubilee Singers) 24. Down To Jordan (Ernest Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers) 25. Take Me to the Water (Rev. E. D. Campbell)


Anonymous said…
Can someone help me out with the theology here? These are churches that don't believe in baptismal regeneration and that one "chooses" Jesus, making them far outside the mainstream of historic Christianity. If the baptism effectively "means" nothing, why is it so important that immersion be used? --Clueless Lutheran stuck in the Bible Belt (btw, I love this blog, but why are US Lutherans so invisible?).
Paul Harvey said…
I won't speak for the "mainstream of historic Christianity" (whatever that is, since obviously Christianity is subject to vast historic changes like any other religious tradition), but for a large number (arguably a majority) of American Protestants, baptism signifies conversion and rebirth, hence the emotional meaning as demonstrated in this book/CD recording.

As for U.S. Lutherans on this blog -- we've had postings on Lutheran topics, but it's been a while for sure. If you want to guest post on something of significance about Lutherans in American religious history, please send me something, we're open to all good posts. That goes for the myriad of other topics that have been relatively invisible here as well.