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Washington Phillips

Washington Phillips was one of the founding fathers of American gospel music. Although he recorded only eighteen tunes, over a two year period, Phillips helped to lay the foundation that resulted in such spiritually-oriented performers as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Dixie Hummingbirds and The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama. A highly spirited Texas minister, Phillips accompanied his soulful vocals on the rarely-played dolceola, a zither-like instrument with a small keyboards that allows a melody to be played over a chordal rhythm. Phillips' life remains a mystery. His musical output was restricted to field recordings conducted by Columbia in 1927 and 1928. Phillips, who spent the final years of his life confined to a state mental institution, died in 1939. Craig Harris

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