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Music  >>  CDs  >>  Religious

Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson Sings--The Great Television Perfor

Mahalia Jackson Mahalia Jackson Sings The Great Television Perfor
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Mahalia Jackson was the greatest gospel singer that ever lived, a transformative figure who transcended the genre to become a household name both here and abroad. But, ironically, out of her voluminous catalog of recordings for labels like Decca, Apollo, and, of course, Columbia, the performances that perhaps exposed the most people to her majestic artistry have remained unavailable for over half a century, never issued in any physical audio format…until now! A little background…in 1961, Mahalia, fresh from her triumphant performance at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball, hooked up with Irving Townsend (producer of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue among many other landmark albums) to film 58 performances of no more than five minutes’ duration to be aired as program “filler” on Sunday mornings. These renditions, aired under the banner of Mahalia Jackson Sings, not only introduced untold numbers of viewers to the Queen of Gospel Song, but also captured her at her absolute best. Drawing upon his jazz connections, producer Townsend assembled a crack backing band highlighted by drummer Shelly Manne, bassist Red Mitchell, and guitarist Barney Kessel, with Jackson’s long-time accompanist Mildred Falls as musical director. As a result, the 16 tracks collected here—which range from old favorites like “I Asked the Lord,” “Didn’t It Rain,” and “The Lord’s Prayer” to lesser-known gospel gems like “God Will Take Care of You” and “Highway Up to Heaven” to songs, like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “I Believe,” that fall outside the gospel canon altogether—rank as some of Mahalia Jackson’s greatest—and rarest—recordings, a monumental and essential addition to her discography. Audio engineer Mike Milchner polishes up the sound, while Davin Seay contributes liner notes accompanied by photos. A hugely important discovery from one of 20th century music’s towering figures.
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