The Best of Mahalia Jackson Sings Vol. 1
2-Disc Collector's Set
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The history of American gospel music stretches back before the dawn of recorded music in the early 20th century. The African-American version began as Methodist hymnals sung with emerging blues and jazz influences. So it s possible that there was a greater, more definitive sanctified singer than Mahalia Jackson, born in 1911 in New Orleans, LA. It s just that no one knows of anyone better. And that may be because such a person never existed.
In any case, Jackson's rise coincided with the advent of easily available and affordable recorded music. And in the African-American community of the 20s through the 40s, gospel music was infinitely more respectable than blues and rhythm and blues indeed, some in the black middle class were uncomfortable with Jackson s more bluesy affections, which she picked up from Bessie Smith. She began her professional career in 1927 with the Johnson Brothers, one of the first professional gospel groups, which was followed by a solo career which would see her becoming the genre s preeminent artist until her death in 1972.
Just as she embraced recording technology in order to spread the word of her Lord, so did Jackson embrace television. The performances on this DVD/CD are culled from the Mahalia Jackson Sings program, broadcast in 1961, the year she sang at President Kennedy s inauguration. Shot on an oddly appropriate, austere German Expressionist set, she s backed by piano, organ and the occasional guitar and drums, taking on 17 gospel evergreens like You'll "Never Walk Along" and "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."
Inasmuch as Jackson must have wanted to keep the emphasis on praising Jehovah here, it s inarguable that her impossibly rich, elemental contralto is one of a kind, containing the DNA of every development in African-American singing since 1938, from Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin to R. Kelly and Fantasia Barrino.
Includes a Bonus Collector's CD with 17 tracks!
1. You'll Never Walk Alone
2. Just As I Am
3. Lord, Don't Move the Mountain
4. Highway to Heaven
5. The Lord's Prayer
6. Tell It, Sing It, Shout It
7. The Rosary
8. My Faith Looks Up to Thee
9. Come On Children, Let's Sing
10. Somebody Bigger Than You and I
11. I Believe
12. My Lord and I
13. I Asked the Lord
14. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
15. God Will Take Care of You
16. Didn't It Rain
17. Throw Out the Lifeline