Mahalia Jackson dedicated her life to Jesus. Throughout her early career, she resisted the commercial temptations of secular music and remained true to the gospel sound that eventually led to colossal success and historic significance. ‘Bless This House’ is the sound of her freedom: both in physical expression and belief. It possesses the severity of conviction inside the shattering joy of faith. Jackson’s unparalleled, contralto vocals shepherd principles that she believed would point to salvation, rather than addressing the specifics of the time. Though her magnetic performances would eventually collide with wider political movements, here, in 1956, she sounds strikingly, magnificently lone.
A favourite: ‘God Knows the Reason Why’