Search - Mavis Staples, Lucky Peterson :: Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson

Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson
Mavis Staples, Lucky Peterson
Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson
Genres: Country, Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B, Christian, Gospel
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

It's moments like these when you wish you hadn't used words like "spine-tingling," "passionate," and "gritty" in other reviews. By the time of these 1996 duo sessions, Staples's voice had gotten grainier and earthier than ...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: Mavis Staples, Lucky Peterson
Title: Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Verve France
Original Release Date: 11/5/1996
Re-Release Date: 4/25/2007
Album Type: Import
Genres: Country, Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B, Christian, Gospel
Styles: Chicago Blues, Electric Blues, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731453356221

Synopsis essential recording
It's moments like these when you wish you hadn't used words like "spine-tingling," "passionate," and "gritty" in other reviews. By the time of these 1996 duo sessions, Staples's voice had gotten grainier and earthier than it was during her glory days, and is all the more expressive and heart wrenching because of it. Meanwhile, Peterson's work on Hammond B-3 and piano is nothing short of astonishing--urgent, soulful, and pulsating--yet it never overwhelms Staples's burning pleas. Billed as a tribute to Mahalia Jackson, these 13 familiar cuts are soaked to the bone with blues inflections that deftly illustrate the intimate relationship between blues and spirituals. The pair's inspirational sermon will make believers out of even the most resolute cynics. --Marc Greilsamer

Similar CDs

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

A Master Class in Gospel Music
Jason Chervokas | Hastings-on-Hudson, NY USA | 01/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mavis Staples' husky voice is a national treasure. I remember hearing her in the pre-renovation Carnegie Hall in the 1970s with The Staples (opening for Ray Charles). One of the great voices of the century. Her gospel singing with her family group in the 1960s is less well remembered than her secular singing in the 1970s, but it is the root of everything she's ever done.

This record--a duet with pianist/organist Lucky Peterson--features a collection of songs associated with Mahalia Jackson. That means there's plenty of traditional material, like "He's Got the Whole World In His Hand" and "Down By the Riverside." But it also means that there is plenty of mid-century gospel blues including Thomas A. Dorsey's anthem "Precious Lord," as well as gospel standards lik "Stand By Me," "Steal Away," and "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again."

The effect of this striped down presentation of beautifully recorded repertoire and performance is of a master class in gospel song. You can't go wrong."
Two Unlikely Collaborators Make Heavenly Music
Dan Klefstad | dekalb, IL | 03/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lucky Peterson plays blues. Mavis Staples sings gospel. One might wonder if this Saturday night/Sunday morning combo could create a lasting tribute to gospel great Mahalia Jackson. But it works, mainly because the two stick to a formula Jackson favored: Vocals accompanied only by an organ or piano.

Staples was deeply influenced by Jackson's music and friendship. And it was her idea to record a tribute using the accompaniment Jackson prefered. But she had trouble finding an organ player with the reputation that would interest a record company. Peterson had this reputation. In the mid-1990s, he was a red-hot blues player for Verve Records, getting lots of radio play, and gigs at major festivals. He was famous for his guitar playing, but equally proficient on the Hammond B-3 organ. Verve promised to release the Jackson tribute if Staples agreed to work with Peterson. The results are stunning, especially considering the two never worked together before.

Staples' voice is characterized by a deep rasp that adds an emotional edge to Jackson favorites like "Wade in the Water" and "Were You There?" Peterson, for his part, has the chops befitting a bandleader. But on this album, he gladly, almost worshipfully, steps into the supporting role. On every track, Peterson punctuates Staples' singing, and fills her pauses with appropriate chords. Never once does he upstage her, or play ahead of her.

The best example of this collaboration is "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." Here, Staples' voice soars to the heavens - praising God, Jackson, praising music itself - before descending to a gravelly bottom, filled with soul and solemnity. Peterson, again, follows wherever Staples goes. Like the perfect wingman, his eye remains on his leader, hands reacting quickly and competently to stay in formation.

"Spirituals & Gospel" works because of the special magic between Staples, a leader in sacred music, and Peterson, a star of the secular world. Who knew that great gospel needed a sinner to help it succeed? The Lord works in mysterious ways...."
Two national Gospel treasures hits an A!
Terje Biringvad | Oslo, Norway | 01/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the world of recorded music, many highly talented female vocalist have paid their tribute to musical mentors like Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. My allegation is that most vocalists fail in their attempt. Why? You can't do it better than your mentor, you need to do it differently! To make an album dedicated to Mahalia Jackson, singing / playing her most beloved gospel and spiritual repertoire tunes, you need a portion of great musicality and a lots of guts! The soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples has these qualities. And she does it differently, in her own way together with only pianist / organist Lucky Peterson. Peterson, also well known for his great blues albums playing guitar, shows mean gospel skills on the Hammond B-3 organ , which he focused most of his musical energy on after lessons from Bill Doggett and the legendary Jimmy Smith. Not many surprises on the selections of tunes on this CD, the dearly beloved ones are all here - Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands, Wade In The Water, I'll Fly Away From Home, Gown Down Moses to name a few. Peterson's organ playing must be considered as a learning book for gospel organ players and enthusiasts - his sensitive use of organ dynamics as an accompanist and soloist, drawbar registrations, and bass lines make the duo sound like at full band. Peterson's change to acoustic piano an a few tunes only broadens the musical expression of this great CD. Staples mature darkened soul voice and chops adds great edge to her gospel interpretations. Her dubbed solo version of "Stand By Me" says it all. Well done Staples / Peterson - A for overall performance!"