Mahalia Jackson

In My Home Over There

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The second release on MCA's 1998 Peacock Gospel Classics imprint was these early recordings by Mahalia Jackson. Taken off the best-condition surviving 78s, the sound quality shows a few scratches along the way, but the music's worth every bump and scuffle attached to it. Her treatment of her own "In the Upper Room, Pt. 1" is a beauty to hear and to kick the set off. Unfortunately, we only get to hear the first half of it, and as this was originally issued as a two part single, the non-appearance of side two and the rest of the song, especially in light of what could be accomplished with modern editing tools to reconnect the two parts, is perhaps the only bummer connected with this package. Mahalia's involvement on tracks like "Dig a Little Deeper" is as heavy and as involved as you could possibly ask any performer to be, impassioned and flowing with every note she puts across. There's a wit, verve, sass and a total soul connectedness that pours into the rocking "Get Away Jordan," "It Is No Secret," an almost bluesy "There's Not a Friend Like Jesus," "Do You Know Him," an amazing "Amazing Grace," "Nobody Knows," "Run All the Way" and the title track that are impossible to ignore. Mahalia Jackson made many extraordinary recordings during her wonderful career; add these to the essential list.

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