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eMusic Features

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Angels Flying From Heaven: Meet Rev. Utah Smith

By Mike McGonigal, Contributor

Rev. Utah Smith was one of the first sacred guitarists to play the electric guitar, and he did so in an uncompromisingly loud and swinging manner. Smith (1906-1965) possessed a pleasantly gruff vocal style and manic delivery - which makes his music easily enjoyed by folks who otherwise don't much truck with gospel. Smith spent time all over the US, from Tennessee to Connecticut, before settling in New Orleans in the '50s. Just three singles… more »

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From the Vaults: Elder Charles Beck’s Rock & Roll Sermon!

By Mike McGonigal, Contributor

It's 1956. Dwight Eisenhower is president, the Cold War is raging and Elvis Presley has revolutionized popular culture with "Blue Suede Shoes." After three notes on a big old church organ, we hear a preacher's voice, followed instantly by shouts from his congregation. "Subject: rock & roll! Can I get an Amen?!" he shout-sings (and yes, he receives enthusiastic "Amen"s). This guy's already revved up about a hot topic on pulpits all over the United… more »