New York Review of Books calls Manzarene Dreams “the authoritative new edition of Phillips’s music.”
Creative Loafing (Atlanta): This was the cover story by Chad Radford.“When Phillips died, a secret history of pre-war gospel blues was born; a mystery shrouded in speculation and mistaken identity. But through the legwork and dedication of semi-retired Texas music journalist Michael Corcoran and Atlanta’s Dust-to-Digital archival record label, nearly 90 years after his final recordings were made, Phillips’ story can be told.”
CNN’s religion editor Daniel Burke on “Gospel Music’s Greatest Disappearing Act.” “He was a Main Street mystic, one of those ageless figures who haunt small-town America like real-life Boo Radleys… In the few photos of Phillips, he looks stern and a little sad, as if disappointed by our downward drift into sin. The people of Simsboro thought he would never die.”
TEXAS MONTHLY REVIEW
Michael Hoinski of Texas Monthly previewed the booksigning event in Teague on Jan. 28. He also included Arizona Dranes and Blind Willie Johnson in the Holy Trinity of 1920’s Texas gospel pioneers I’ve been researching for years.
Roots World’s Bruce Miller: “A stunning set that collects lore, scraps, and stories to paint the most complete picture we’re likely to get of the man responsible for music as striking as it is welcoming.”
Spectrum Culture magazine : “Through firsthand research and interviews, Corcoran presents for the first time a fully realized picture of one of pre-war music’s more mysterious figures. Featuring interviews with those who knew Phillips, along copies of an evidentiary paper trail that helped disprove a number of the previously held inaccuracies surrounding his life and work and a wealth of new information, Washington Phillips and His Manzarene Dreams stands as the definitive statement on the man and his music.”
Radio New Zealand interview with Trevor Pagan. “Washington Phillips: Founding Father of American Gospel Music.”
D Magazine gets it. Dallas has an amazing history of recordings. Though I don’t think Blind Lemon Jefferson ever recorded in Dallas.
The Wire magazine:
Pitchfork (8.5 rating): “Best New Reissue.” No other gospel musician has come as close to convincing me that Jesus’ love might not stress me out.
Amanda Petrusich in the New Yorker led the charge.
Here’s a review from Dusted magazine.
Black Grooves says: “This deep dive into Phillips’ gospel blues has unearthed gems that are sure to make more converts of artists and fans alike.”
Fretboard Journal has a podcast interview with the author and says of “Manzarene” book/CD “We can’t recommend it enough.”
The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger raves.
Here’s a second review from The Wire: