STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 164547-25218 LABEL: Shanachie 6066 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
45 years after her death and with literally hundreds of her albums released down the years one might think there is little excitement to be engendered by this set. But wait. This amazing package contains 22 previously unissued recordings gleaned from a wide variety of sources including live events and rehearsal tapes, TV concerts and the Newport Jazz Festival. And once again hearing that magnificent contralto with all its bluesy cadences and goose bump-inducing melisma one is left astonished that it has taken this long to bring these tracks to the general public. Particularly wonderful are the first songs that Mahalia learned, those ancient Dr Watts hymns while the two live versions of her first and greatest hit "Move On Up A Little Higher" both sound essential to my ears. Historians will be fascinated by the only known recording that Mahalia made with gospel pioneer Thomas A Dorsey while from track one, a stirring live version of "Keep Your Hand On The Plow", to the short but perfectly formed version of the Reverend Brewster's "Getting Happy In Chicago" closer this is truly soul-stirring stuff and we also get informative and fascinating sleevenotes from renowned gospel expert Anthony Heilbut. An album to buy and cherish.
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