Personnel includes: Mahalia Jackson (vocals); Art Ryerson, James E. Raney, Duane Swalley, Earl Backus, A. Hendrickson, Clifton Best (guitar); Mildred Falls, E. Robinson (piano); Lilton M. Mitchell, Ralph Jones, Willie Webb, Alfred Miller, A. Goodson (organ); Frank Carroll, Aaron Bell, Addison Farmer, Jack Lasberg, K. Mitchell, J. Mondragon, Tom Bryant (bass); Bunny Shawker, James Osie Johnson, Frank Rullo, Gus Johnson, J. Williams, Gordon Powell (drums); The Jack Halloran Singers (background vocals).
Recorded between 1954 and 1968. Includes liner notes by Will Friedwald, Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer, and Nedra Olds-Neal.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder (Sony Music Studios, New York).
GOSPELS, SPIRITUALS, & HYMNS comes with a 32-page booklet that includes two essays and a number of rare photographs.
Personnel: Mahalia Jackson (vocals); A. Hendrickson, Clifton Best, Herb Ellis, Art Ryerson, Jimmy Raney (guitar); Edward David Robinson, Mildred Falls (piano); Ralph Jones , A. Goodson, Alfred Miller, Willie Webb, Lilton Mitchell (organ); Gordon "Specs" Powell, J. Williams, Gus Johnson , Osie Johnson, Shelly Manne, Norris "Bunny" Shawker (drums); Billy Preston (programming); Jack Halloran (background vocals).
Audio Remasterer: Mark Wilder.
Audio Remixer: Mark Wilder.
Liner Note Authors: Nedra Olds-Neal; Horace Clarence Boyer; Will Friedwald.
Recording information: Chicago, IL; Hollywood, CA; New York, NY; Newport Jazz Festival, RI; Stockholm, Sweden.
Ensemble: Falls-Jones Ensemble.
Photographer: Frank Driggs.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Nedra Olds-Neal; Falls-Jones Ensemble; Mildred Falls.
Arrangers: Mahalia Jackson; Marty Paich.
Mahalia Jackson was known as the "Gospel Queen" for over a half a century, until her death in 1972. She is still regarded as the greatest gospel singer of all time. On the 2-disc box set GOSPELS, SPIRITUALS & HYMNS, the listener is treated to Mahalia's best work from the '50s and '60s; a sweeping education in gospel, jazz and blues when Sister Mahalia testifies.
Inspiration is the cornerstone of this passionate collection. The 36 songs range from the rock-the-pulpit, foot-stomping "Come On Children, Let's Sing" to deeply, internal blue ballads like "If I Can Help Somebody." Spirituals, gospels and hymns were used to "praise the Lord" ("What A Friend We Have In Jesus"), to teach the Bible ("Didn't It Rain") or to relieve the pain of slavery ("Great Gettin' Up Morning"). Others were for simple inspiration; listen to "Trouble Of The World," for instance, and bear witness to how Jackson moves the soul. Then there's the wondrous, live "Elijah Rock," as infectious as any hip-hop single.
The moniker "Gospel Queen" and her imposing, historic image might create the false image of intense, foreboding music, but quite is the opposite that is true. Mahalia's music is joyous and approachable. She took the restrictions of Negro church music and loosened it, almost freeing its soul in a more accessible, jazzy direction. There is the promise of a brighter future in her music, that often speaks of despairing times.
She has a remarkable range, dense and sumptuous on the dark "My God Is Real," and soulful and soaring on "It Is Well With My Soul." Then there's her country-sounding take on "I Found The Answer." The connection of traditional black gospel music to country music is a good lesson in roots, with "Satisfied Mind" serving as a prime example.
Nothing reaches the soul the way the human voice does, and it effectively makes its presence known on this magnificent collection. There are numerous accomplished musicians represented, but it is Mahalia Jackson who stands boldly in the spotlight, speaking to the Creator who gave her the gift of her voice, and ability to articulate true spirituality.