1. Introduction - Willis Conover
2. Evening Prayer
3. City Called Heaven
4. I'm on My Way
5. It Don't Cost Very Much
6. Didn't It Rain
7. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
8. When the Saints Go Marching In
9. I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song
10. Keep Your Hand on the Plow
11. Lord's Prayer
12. Walk over God's Heaven
13. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
14. Jesus Met the Woman at the Well
Another album on the list that is hard to separate from history, in this case the history of African American people in post-slavery but segregated times. The life story of the great singer Mahalia Jackson is one of poverty and privation, but her amazng voice brought her to the stages of the world.
Mahalia always refused to sing secular music and this expresses the devotion that she had to the music she sung. She is singing for more than entertainment, she is a truly great gospel singer with an amazingly impressive voice and capacity to emote.
This live set is a great example of that, accompanied by a great pianist Mahalia makes the best of her voice to sing her songs. This is Gospel but not a caricature of gospel, it is heartfelt music and not people jumping around and clapping like cinema and TV would like to make us think. Of course there are very joyous moments here but only when the music demands it. Gospel as Mahalia sings it is an emotional narrative expression of biblical story as oral tradition. This is the seeds of Soul, it is from here that you'd get James Brown even if with completely different thematics. Great stuff.
1. Didn't It Rain
2. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
3. I'm on My Way
4. Evening Prayer
Mahalia Jackson, born Mahala Jackson, nicknamed “Halie," grew up in the Black Pearl section of the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. The three-room dwelling on Pitt Street housed thirteen people and a dog. This included Little Mahala (named after her aunt, whom the family called Aunt Duke), her brother Roosevelt, whom they called Peter, and her mother Charity. Several aunts and cousins lived in the house as well. Aunt Mahala was given the nickname "Duke". When Peter was born Halie suffered from genu varum, or "bowed legs." The doctors wanted to perform surgery by breaking Halie's legs, but one of the resident aunts opposed it. So Halie's mother would rub her legs down with greasy dishwater. The condition never stopped young Halie from performing her dance steps for the white woman her mother and Aunt Bell cleaned house for.
Mahalia was five when her mother, Charity, died, leaving her family to decide who would raise Halie and her brother. Aunt Duke assumed this responsibility, and the children were forced to work from sunup to sundown. Aunt Duke would always inspect the house using the "white glove" method. If the house was not cleaned properly, Halie was beaten with a "cat-o-nine-tails." If one of the other relatives was unable to do their chores, or clean at their job, Halie or one of her cousins was expected to perform that particular task. School was hardly an option.
Mahalia Live at Newport with excerpts from the concert: