Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Voice to Be Remembered

The time seems opportune to present another song by one of the truly great singers of modern times. Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972) was not a "diva;" she was not "hot;" and she didn't use sex as the main selling point for her performances.  God gave her a magnificent voice, as He graciously does from time to time, but instead of using it to become an A-list, headline grabbing "celebrity," or wrecking it with drugs, she gave it back to God, and used it exclusively for His glory.  In doing so, she became one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century, without ever selling out: she steadfastly refused to sing jazz or blues songs, which she contemptuously dismissed as "anthems." 

Popular singers come and go, and they have their place.  They entertain us; at best, they touch us deeply, such as when Andrea Bocelli or Lara Fabian sing. But although they entertain and touch us, they do not usually exalt our spirits, or point the way to God.

Mahalia Jackson did, and still does: she was the real thing.  Here, in a departure from her humbler roots, she sings a magnificent hymn, accompanied by the Percy Faith orchestra and chorus.  This doesn't make you "want to dance with somebody," as one sluttish "diva" sang: this makes you fall on your knees, and adore the Lord of Glory.  I hope you enjoy it.


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