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Rev. F.W. McGee

Expertly blending lively congregational singing with powerful preaching, the Reverend F.W. McGee was among the most popular country gospel performers of the pre-Depression era. Born Ford Washington McGee in Winchester, Tennessee on October 5, 1890, he was raised primarily in Hillsboro, Texas; married at the age of 20, within a year he began a career as a teacher, soon after relocating to Oklahoma. Previously a pastor in a Methodist church, McGee converted to Charles H. Mason's Memphis-based Church of God in Christ in 1918, in part attracted to their more energetic singing style. By 1920 he had largely abandoned teaching to pursue preaching full-time, and through his revival meetings became a crucial figure in the GOGIC's encroachment into Kansas and Iowa. He later built a congregation in Oklahoma City with the assistance of the noted sanctified singer/pianist Arizona Dranes; by 1925, McGee had also established the first of two tents in the Chicago area.

When Dranes made her first recordings for OKeh in 1926, she recruited McGee and his Jubilee Singers to back her up; in early 1927, he made his headlining debut -- albeit mistakenly labeled "Rev. F.N. McGee" -- with "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." He next appeared on Victor a few months later, recording four more titles; among them were "Jonah in the Belly of the Whale" and "With His Stripes We Are Healed," which coupled together on a 78 reportedly sold over 100,000 copies. Another Victor session followed before the end of year, yielding the hit "Babylon Is Falling Down"; McGee's popularity as a recording artist also greatly increased the size of his congregation, and by 1928 he had outgrown his tents and built his own Chicago church. His later recording sessions focused primarily on preaching, with musical backing almost incidental; a July 16, 1930 New York City studio date was McGee's last, although he remained active in the GOGIC throughout the decades to follow. He died in 1971. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Anthology Of American Folk Music

Disc 1

1. Henry Lee

2. Fatal Flower Garden

3. The House Carpenter

4. Drunkard's Special

5. Old Lady And The Devil

6. The Butcher's Boy

7. The Wagoner's Lad

8. King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O

9. Old Shoes And Leggins

10. Willie Moore

11. A Lazy Farmer Boy

12. Peg And Awl

13. Ommie Wise

14. My Name Is John Johanna

Disc 2

1. Bandit Cole Younger

2. Charles Giteau

3. John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man

4. Gonna Die With My Hammer In My Hand

5. Stackalee

6. White House Blues

7. Frankie

8. When That Great Ship Went Down

9. Engine 143

10. Kassie Jones

11. Down On Penny's Farm

12. Mississippi Boweavil Blues

13. Got The Farm Land Blues

Disc 3

1. Sail Away Lady

2. The Wild Wagoner

3. Wake Up Jacob

4. La Danseuse

5. Georgia Stomp

6. Brilliancy Medley

7. Indian War Whoop

8. Old Country Stomp

9. Old Dog Blue

10. Saut Crapaud

11. Acadian One-Step

12. Home Sweet Home

13. Newport Blues

Disc 4

3. Rocky Road

4. Present Joys

5. This Song Of Love

6. Judgement

7. He Got Better Things For You

8. Since I Laid My Burden Down

9. John The Baptist

10. Dry Bones

11. John The Revelator

12. Little Moses

13. Shine On Me

14. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room

Disc 5

1. The Coo Coo Bird

2. East Virginia

3. Minglewood Blues

5. James Alley Blues

7. I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground

8. Mountaineer's Courtship

9. The Spanish Merchant's Daughter

10. Bob Lee Junior Blues

11. Single Girl, Married Girl

12. La Vieux Soulard Et Sa Femme

13. Rabbit Foot Blues

14. Expressman Blues

Disc 6

1. Poor Boy Blues

2. Feather Bed

3. Country Blues

4. 99 Year Blues

5. Prison Cell Blues

6. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

8. Way Down The Old Plank Road

9. Buddy Won't You Roll Down The Line

10. Spike Driver Blues

11. K.C. Moan

12. Train On The Island

13. The Lone Star Trail

14. Fishing Blues

x

Track List: Broadcasting The Blues: Black Blues In The Segregation Era

Disc 1

1. Baby, Please Don't Go

2. Match Box Blues

3. Yonder Come The Blues

4. Yellow Dog Blues

5. Walkin' Blues

7. My Soul Is A Witness

8. Long Hot Summer Days

9. Lucky Holler

10. Penitentiary Moan

11. Old Country Stomp

12. Dry Bone Shuffle

13. Mysterious Coon

15. You Shall

17. I Heard The Voice Of A Porkchop

18. Spike Driver Blues

20. Fare Thee Well Blues

21. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

22. Travelin' Blues

Disc 2

1. Chocolate To The Bone

3. Tennessee Dog

5. Washboard Cut-Out

6. Flying Crows Blues

7. Rules And Regulations 'Signed Razor Jim'

8. Ground Hog Blues

10. Wednesday Evening She Left Me

11. Lonesome Day Blues

14. Black, Brown And White

15. Pratt City Blues

16. Blues Before Sunrise

17. Blues Trip Me This Morning

18. Poor Man Blues

20. My Black Mama - Part I

21. Cotton Pickin' Blues

23. Number 29

24. Jim Crow Blues

Disc 3

1. Aunt Caroline Dyer Blues

3. Policy Dream Blues

4. North Memphis Blues

6. They Ain't Walkin' No More

7. Ice Pick Blues

9. Parchman Farm Blues

10. Shelby County Workhouse Blues

11. Working On The Project

13. Let's Have A New Deal

14. Tallahatchie River Blues

15. St. Louis Cyclone Blues

17. Fire Department Blues

18. Give Me A 32-30

20. Build A Cave

21. Crying Mother Blues

23. The Dirty Dozen

24. Three Ball Blues

25. Milk Cow Blues

26. Cool Drink Of Water Blues

27. Some Summer Day

30. Spirit Of Boogie Woogie

31. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room

x

Track List: Goodbye, Babylon

Disc 1

3. Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind On Jesus)

4. Present Joys

5. All I Want Is That Pure Religion

6. Satisfied

7. As The Life Of A Flower

8. Thou Carest Lord, For Me

9. Lift Him Up That's All

10. Rock My Soul

12. Crucifixion

13. Crying Holy Unto The Lord

14. I'll Never Go Back

15. God's Gonna Separate The Wheat From The Tares

16. Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

17. I Belong To The Band - Hallelujah!

18. River Of Jordan

19. Sow Good Seeds

20. I'll Be Satisfied

21. Troubled 'bout My Soul

22. Dry Bones

23. Jesus My All

24. Creep Along, Moses

26. He Gave Me A Heart To Love

27. O Day

Disc 2

1. There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down

3. The Bible's Right

4. Standing In The Need Of Prayer

6. How About You?

7. Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader

8. Murillo's Lesson

9. Glory, Glory, Glory, Glory To The Lamb

10. Come Over Here

11. I'm Gonna Cross The River Of Jordan

12. Milky White Way

13. Deliverance Will Come

14. Daniel In The Den Of Lions

16. No More, My Lord

17. This World Can't Stand Long

18. God's Getting Worried

19. Get Right Church

20. Move, Members, Move

21. Lover Of The Lord

23. On My Way To Heaven

24. The Bible's True

25. Ship Of Glory

28. When The Saints Go Marching In

Disc 3

1. Down On The Old Camp Ground

2. My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race

4. Ain't Gonna Lay My Armor Down

5. I'll Fly Away

6. Heavenly Vision

7. Lord, I Just Can't Keep From Crying

8. Lower My Dying Head

9. You've Got To Move

11. Golden Gate Gospel Train

12. I'll Be Rested (When The Roll Is Called)

13. Down On Me

14. Goin' To Rest Where Jesus Is

15. Got Heaven In My View

16. Judgment

17. I Want Two Wings To Veil My Face

18. We Got The Same Kinda Power Over Here

19. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today

20. That Great Day

21. I'm Bound For Home

22. I Am In The Heavenly Way

23. Over In The Glory Land

24. Death In The Morning

25. In The Land Where We'll Never Grow Old

26. Bathe In That Beautiful Pool

Disc 4

1. Walking My Lord Up Calvary Hill

2. Christ Arose

3. If You See My Savior

4. Let Jesus Lead You

5. Found A Wonderful Savior

6. He Is My Story

7. I Remember Calvary

8. Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There

10. Hide Me In The Blood Of Jesus

12. Standing On The Promises

13. Jesus Is My Air-O-Plane

15. I Mean To Live For Jesus

16. When Was Jesus Born?

17. Come To The Savior

18. I Want Jesus To Walk With Me

19. He's Coming Soon

20. Return Again

21. I Am The True Vine

22. Sweet Story Of Old

23. I'll Lead A Christian Life

24. I'm Leaning On The Lord

25. Where He Leads Me I Will Follow

26. Jesus Is Getting Us Ready For The Great Day

Disc 5

3. Hallelujah To The Lamb

4. You Need Jesus On Your Side

5. You'd Better Mind

8. Keep On The Firing Line

9. Romans Ten And Nine

10. Standing Outside

11. Sinner You Better Get Ready

12. I Got To Cross The River Of Jordan

13. Free At Last

14. The Whole World In His Hand

15. Amazing Grace

16. Honey In The Rock

17. On Jordan's Stormy Banks We Stand

20. Primrose Hill

21. Keep On The Sunny Side

23. When The Saints Go Marching In

24. We Are Almost Down To The Shore

25. Strange Things Happening Every Day

Disc 6

1. Gettin' Ready For Christmas Day

4. The Downfall Of Nebuchadnezzar

5. The Liar

8. If I Have A Ticket Lord Can I Ride

9. You Must Be Born Again

11. Oh, Lord Remember Me

12. Christ, The Teacher

13. King Of Kings

14. O Lord I'm Your Child

15. Moses Was Rescued By A Negro Woman

16. That White Mule Of Sin

21. The Gambler's Doom

23. God Is Mad With Man

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