Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The World's Greatest Gospel Singer
Genres: Blues, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Classical, Christian, Gospel
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One of the finest vocal performances ever recorded
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This magnificant work of art, produced by Geroge Avakian in the mid 1950's, contains one of the finest vocal performances ever committed to record, irrespective of musical genre. Accompanied brilliantly by the jazz/blues influenced Fall-Jones Ensemble, Jackson delivers a remarkable reading of African-American spirituals, including some of her own compositions. A recording for the ages, delivered superlatively by one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. In short, a masterpiece."
An early MJ album: 1 of 2 top recommends in her discography
Dan Fee | Berkeley, CA USA | 08/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this recording, you get mono sound only, but who cares? It displays the absolutely sizzling talents of a jazz-inflected gospel backup band, including the redoubtable pianist Mildred Falls whose genius is more or less inseparable from Mahaliah Jackson's genius.
No doubt about it, these players cook bacon while they juggle musical chairs. If the hair stands up on the back of your neck all the way through this CD, then good for you. It just means you are getting it. Of course, center of the holy musical storm is Mahaliah Jackson herself.
With her incredibly physical, mezzosoprano-range voice, she can do whatever she wants. She can trumpet, lift, pray, whisper, or shout with the best of them. She is living the life she sings about in her song, and she is singing the life she lives. Many of these versions of these songs have never been better sung, or captured in gospel recording history.
Listen to what she and the group do on a song called, "Didn't it rain". And when the woman Jesus met at the well goes running into town to talk about her encounter, the music embodies the rush of her inner necessity. This music got feet.
When MJ moves on up a little higher, you simply must trust her to carry you with her. At least let your sad eyes follow her upwards. This song is one of the two that she early recorded as an unknown African American Baptist church singer. It was backed on a two-sided 78 disc with the other big MJ signature song, How I Got Over. I have heard MJ attributed as the author of both songs, but I cannot say that for sure. Whoever wrote either one of them, it is safe to say that MJ made each her own in the most unique and powerful way. In its first release, that 78 rpm disc must have been bought by just about every African American Baptist in the USA, because she sold 3 million copies. All of a sudden, the music/money people were sniffing down highways and byways to find out who this amazing singer was. It is so characteristic that they had never hear of her. The USA was even more segregated in those years than it can be today. Indeed, one of the key concerns of the big label Columbia, once it signed its contract with MJ was: how can we set her peformances, so that they don't sound too black, so that they cross over successfully to white america?
This early album, however, will have none of that nonsense. The group (including Mildred Falls)is probably the most brilliant backup that MJ ever had on a recording. The only other recording that offers us the pure, unadulterated musical Mahaliah Jackson in her live in Europe concert CD, also (probably temporarily) available on CD. There, she and Mildred Falls are like super-heroines in a Marvel comic, with all sorts of musical magic up their sleeves.
If you have both of these, you have Mahaliah Jackson. This recording is like a drink of cool well water in the back country on a very hot, humid day. You never knew how good pure water could be. In fact, pour me another glass. I am sitting in the shade for a while, feeling the breezes, and listening to the witness this lady sings about what God is doing in her life.
Unlike many forms of religion, MJ believes the kingdom is wide open. Hers is a generous spirit, and so a generous religion. She is not worried about keeping the heavenly treasures under lock and key, lest they be unfairly distributed to beggars or publicans who have not proved their worth in terms of human empires. She sings for anybody who will bother to listen. Like a prophet, she speaks her truth to power. She makes me wonder what life would be like, if we were all speaking more truth, more often, to power.
In any case, get this CD for the music. Its five stars shape some mysterious constellation that is rare and shining as the firmament circles above our heads.
The other must-have MJ recommendation is: MJ Live In Europe concert. It is newly (and probably temporarily) available. Get both. Now. You can learn many of life's lessons from MJ on these two CD's, and have a whale of a good time listening as you learn. Maybe other singers have, in their own ways, reached so high. But nobody has surpassed MJ. She is the real deal. I think I get just a tad more real, when I listen to her. If the destination is the journey, then MJ offers us the best kind of traveling music. Highly recommended. Get it before it's gone again."