Mahalia Jackson – Moving On Up A Little Higher

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Description

Release Date:  2016

Label:  Shanachie

 

Track List

  • 1. Keep Your Hand On The Plow
    2. Dark Was The Night And Cold The Ground
    3. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well
    4. Troubles Of The World
    5. Didn’t It Rain
    6. I’m Gonna Live The Life I Sing About In My Song
    7. In The Upper Room
    8. When The Saints Go Marching In
    9. Move On Up A Little Higher
    10. His Eye Is On The Sparrow
    11. Before This Time Another Year
    12. There’s Been A Great Change In Me
    13. He’s Pleading In Glory For Me
    14. Have A Little Talk With Jesus
    15. I Cannot Make This Journey By Myself
    16. I’m Glad Salvation Is Free
    17. Savoir More Life Than Me
    18. Childhood Church Memories (Father I Stretch My Hands To Thee)
    19. The Reunion With Thomas A. Dorsey
    20. Beams Of Heaven
    21. When The Role Will Be Called In Heaven
    22. Getting Happy In Chicago

 

Review

Anthony Heilbut’s dazzling collection of previously un-issued performances forcefully reminds us that before Mahalia Jackson was a symbol or a monument, she was a stone singer. These non pareil gems find Mahalia in freshest voice, with tone colors previously missed by the microphone in the studio and and a rhythmic sense unmatched by even Halie herself. Here Mahalia reveals herself as artist, racconteur and evangelist all at once. The a cappella selections “Before This Time Another Year”, “Dark Was The Night” and “When The Roll Is Called In Heaven” chill the blood; these aren’t mere performances, they’re seances: Mahalia practically moans up the spirits of her ancestors. With her performance of “Keep Your Hand On The Plow”,Mahalia wrests the spiritual from the concert room and takes it right back to church; this is the kind of singing that powered the Civil Rights Marches. If you’ve only heard Mahalia’s magisterial performance of “Troubles Of The World” in “Imitation Of Life”, you’re being cheated. Here, Halie replaces the saccharine with gut-twisting, espresso-bitter sorrow and real conviction, hollering all the treacle right out the song. Any Mahalia aficionado exposed to Mahalia’s Apollo recordings takes superb performances of house-wreckers like “Move On Up A Little Higher” and “Didn’t It Rain” as a given. What surprises us here is the youthful energy, the inexhaustible breath support, the rangier, higher tessitura and lighter, more lustrous tone color. The second performance of “Move On Up” saved like the wine at the wedding feast of Cana for last, is the very definition of gospel singing: Live in church, out for blood and with conviction and vocal power to burn. “In The Upper Room”, prefaced by Mahalia’s entrancing banter with the audience (a queen graciously tending to the desires of her subjects) is sung with a lyric soprano’s brightness and beauty of tone. Above all, Anthony Heilbut’s disc with its peerless liner notes (a pleasure unto themselves) increase Mahalia’s already gargantuan stature tenfold, indisputably making clear that the epithet “Queen of gospel” was no publicity gimmick.

 

 

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