Vocalist Lillian Boutte chose a line from one of gospel music's best-loved songs for the title of her CD, I Sing Because I'm Happy. It comes from "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," which is among the selections that Boutte sings on the recording. The New Orleans-born singer went back to her roots in the gospel tradition to make this record. Boutte grew up in a Creole neighborhood in which an integral part of the cultural fabric was the church. She was raised singing in a choir. In fact, her friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once likened her voice to the great Mahalia Jackson. Boutte speaks of having a recommitment of faith after a life-threatening illness. She often performs gospel when she returns to the city of her birth from her home in Germany. It is with her German musician husband, Thomas L'Etiene, that she made this record of gospel favorites. The singer is renowned in Europe; the decision to make the record reflects the great interest that Europeans have in the jazz and gospel traditions of New Orleans. The jazz singer lifts her voice in praise on a number of gospel favorites, such as "Precious Lord," "In the Sweet by and By," and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." She is exudes joy on "That Old Time Religion" and shows reverence on "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?." The CD shows that while Lillian Boutte may be an international star of jazz, she is still a daughter of the church.
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AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer