Mahalia Jackson is rightly remembered as the definitive African-American gospel singer. Legend, Music Club's double-CD tribute compilation, presents 50 titles from her pre-Columbia period. Forty-eight of these originally appeared on the Apollo label, to which she was signed from 1946 to 1954. "Oh, My Lord" and "God's Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares," two 1937 Decca sides from the dawn of her recording career, close out the second disc of this excellent if chronologically jumbled "best-of" album. How exciting to hear what Mahalia Jackson was like in her twenties! Young and feisty, she sounds a bit like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who began her own recording career a few months later in 1938. Uneasy with Mahalia Jackson's boisterously black persona, the people in charge at Decca decided that she had insufficient commercial potential, and she wasn't able to record again until nine years later. This overview of her Apollo recordings will enable the listener to bask, baste and marinate in the majesty of Mahalia Jackson's early maturity. Those who really love this woman's voice and spirit (is there a difference?) will also want to track down some of her later material, including a live performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and most importantly her exquisite collaboration with Duke Ellington on the Black, Brown and Beige album, also recorded in 1958. Mahalia Jackson's music is rooted in the legacies of Blind Willie Johnson, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Her powerful influence is clearly detectable across a broad spectrum of later musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Albert Ayler. ~ arwulf arwulf
70694NLegend: The Best of Mahalia Jackson (2-CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/72/5014797296091.jpg?v=311.9910.79USDOutOfStockMusic Club RecordsCDChristian-Gospel-MusicMahalia-Jackson2009-09-09
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