The home page on Bap-Tizum.com contains two lines of text. The first of which reads: “Bap-Tizum.com is an archive of Black-American Christian spiritual music & sermons from the 1930s to the 1980s.” ‘Nuff said. Nothing about the drab, gray background or the poor quality Polaroid image that embellishes this page would clue you in to the fact that the site is a goldmine of forgotten audio recordings, ripped from the original vinyl records and organized by record speed: 33 (1/3), 45 and 78 RPM. Being a fan of old gospel music I’ve been loyally listening to Kevin Nutt’s Sinner’s Crossroads show on WFMU for years and I discovered this site from its contributions to the Free Music Archive.
But what pulled me into this site was its rather humbling collection of album cover and record label designs, which make up the entire user interface for listening to the audio tracks. Clicking on 45, for example, in the top navigation bar reveals an ever-expanding page displaying small-ish images of 45 label scans, each a link to their respective audio recording. I wish there were larger images available for us lovers of visual junk, but that’s just me wanting more of an already good thing. Spread the good word, Bap-Tizum.com is an inspired feast for the eyes and ears.