36 Columbia recordings-including three unreleased tracks-from the Queen of Gospel! Here are Didn't It Rain; Come On Children, Let's Sing; Elijah Rock; A Satisfied Mind; Roll, Jordan, Roll; Great Gettin'Up Morning; A City Called Heaven , and more. If the bazillion packagings and repackagings of Mahalia Jackson's music confound you and you don't know where to start, this expertly compiled, carefully annotated double-disc box set is for you. Jackson wasn't just gospel music's first international superstar--she was among its earliest adherents and inventors. Working with the great composer and former blues singer Thomas A. Dorsey in the late 1930s, Jackson gave a distinctly blues-trained, jazzy sass and grace to Dorsey's material and the other hymns and spirituals she sang. More than any other performer, she helped to define gospel music itself as a transcendent, rootsy, melismatic, and heady spiritual sound. Culled from her sides for Columbia in the 1950s and 1960s, some of the arrangements in the set are not ideal and may sound quite a bit dated, but that voice shines and soars and dives straight to the center of your heart. Whether backed by a simple organ or piano or with full studio accompaniment, Jackson's booming, instantly recognizable contralto is indescribable, exciting, and forever a wonder to behold. And if you think that's an exaggeration, you don't own this record. --Mike McGonigal
Long known as the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, this venerable gospel institution has seen its ranks fluctuate in recent years. Rarely, however, have the soul-stirring harmonies of the group, recording here as a quartet, benefited from such stellar support. Producer John Chelew (best known for John Hiatt's breakthrough Bring the Family) has enlisted guitarists David Lindley and John Hammond, bassist Danny Thompson, drummer Michael Jerome, and harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite for a set that celebrates the bluesy underpinnings of gospel. The selection of material mixes the traditional spirituals the group has been performing for more than a half century ("Nobody's Fault but Mine," "Motherless Child") with soulful readings from the more contemporary songbooks of Tom Waits, the Rolling Stones, and Ben Harper. Harper's "Give a Man a Home" receives a majestic vocal from Clarence Fountain, while the album's most audacious cut pairs the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" with the melody from "House of the Rising Sun." --Don McLeese
Brand: Word Entertainment
Soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples possesses one of the most recognizable and treasured voices in contemporary music. From her early days sharing lead vocals with her groundbreaking family group, The Staples Singers, to her powerful solo recordings, Mavis is an inspirational force in modern popular culture and music. As musical activists in the 1960s civil rights movement, the Staple Singers were powerful voices for equality and change. And more than 40 years after Pops's daughter Mavis spent a night in a West Memphis, Arkansas, jail at the behest of a racist cop, she still remembers the terror of the experience, as well as the counsel of Dr. Martin Luther King. That episode is at the centerpiece of "My Own Eyes," one of the most moving offerings on this collection of songs of racial struggle in the '50s and '60s, produced by guitarist Ry Cooder and featuring backing from the original Freedom Singers and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Throughout, the album proves both emotionally chilling and spiritually uplifting. On J.B. Lenoir's "Down in Mississippi" and Marshall Jones's "In the Mississippi River," for example, Cooder makes fine use of pounding percussion and snaky electric guitar to capture the danger and fear inherent in the Deep South at the time, while the title song and "Jesus Is on the Main Line" draw on gospel and the traditional framework of church hymns to promise positive solutions. Staples, who adlibs on several cuts, connecting the injustice of yesterday to the continuing marginalization of blacks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, remains a remarkable performer, employing a throaty sensuality that rises from a deep well of tremulous emotion. If her album is musically uneven at times, her artistry and strength continue to shine as undimmed beacons. --Alanna Nash More from Mavis and the Staple Singers Have a Little Faith A Piece of the Action Only for the Lonely The Best of the Staple Singers Great Day The Staple Singers: Greatest Hit...
Precious Lord Recordings of The Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A Dorsey
Manufacturer: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
On this 16-track collection we get to hear some legendary artists perform the great compositions from "the father of gospel music." Includes Take My Hand, Precious Lord Marion Williams; When the Gates Swing Open Dixie Hummingbirds; (There'll Be) Peace in the Valley R. H. Harris; Highway to Heaven Alex Bradford (with Dorsey on piano), and others.
Track Listing: "You Didn't Have To," "No Fault," "Good Time," "Personally." This 73-minute project demonstrates that the power of the gospel quartet will never diminish. Recorded live in Memphis, this project features Williams's singing-preacher persona on a vocal foundation built by the tight harmonizing of QC's Tommie Harris, Al Hollis, and Patrick Hollis. Though Williams and his cronies have the talent to pull off an a cappella album, the gospel-sung truths of Good Time are done up with all the pomp and flare of a full gospel band and horn section. From the funk jams of "Let's Get Down" to the intimate moments of "You've Been Good," Williams's vocal nuances carry the authority of one who has gained the kind of wisdom that only experience can bring. Throughout this record his steadfast and relaxed testimony of God's greatness pushes this music beyond entertainment, and creates a sacred environment in which the deepest and simplest truths are revealed with conviction. On the tail of success from their last project, Love Will Go All the Way, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC's are now poised for a wider range of influence and the opportunity to write part of gospel history. --Israel Button