Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mahalia Jackson: The Daddy Is Feeling You Deep Down in His Soul

"Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them."
--Mahalia Jackson

Today, the daddy is feeling Mahalia Jackson, the greatest and most influential gospel singer ever. You see, today, October 26, is Mahalia Jackson's birthday; and, I tell ya, it makes the daddy wanna go to one of them old sanctified churches, strut up and down the isles banging on a tambourine shouting "Hallelujah!"

Jackson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1911. Like many other black singers, she grew up in the church, singing in a gospel choir.
Like many other blacks who lived "down South," she became sick and tired of the humiliating and unrelenting racial bigotry there and, in 1927, made her way to what blues master Robert Johnson called "Sweet home Chicago," Illinois for a better life, or at least a life free of the straight-up apartheid she experienced in New Orleans.

Jackson was one confident lady. She knew she could sing, but she didn't want to perform for Hollywood or commercial record labels. She wanted to sing for the Lord. So, unlike other great singing talents like Sam Cooke, Johnny Taylor, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, who started out singing gospel or spirituals but abandoned it for the relatively more popular and more lucrative R&B market, Jackson kept singing gospel and spirituals. Rather than go commercial, she worked menial jobs and sang gospel and what she called "devotional songs" like "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at churches and revival meetings. Eventually, she was known back home in New Orleans and throughout the world as the greatest gospel singer of all times. Indeed, she became the first gospel artist to sell a million copies of a record-- "Move up a little higher."

Jackson loved her some Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a major influence on her not only because he, like her, was Baptist but because she saw him as a man on earth that was doing the work for her God upstairs. She loved him because he lived and died for peace and freedom for African Americans living under apartheid in the South and for people of all races and nations. Though she lived in Chicago, whenever Dr. King would phone and ask her to sing at one of his events or at his church in Atlanta, she would say yes without hesitation. And, more than not, he would ask her to sing "Precious Lord," his favorite.

Yes, the daddy loves gospel music and great gospel singers like the Five Blind Boys, Sister Rosetta Thorpe, the Soul Stirrers (Sam Cooke used to be their lead singer), Shirley Caesar and Aretha Franklin, especially her gospel album "Amazing Grace." But most of all, he loves Sister Mahalia Jackson. And, like Dr. King, his favorite song of hers is "Precious Lord," which the daddy is listening to right now.

Sister Mahalia: The daddy is feeling you...deep down in his Soul.
To learn more about Mahalia Jackson, check out:
1. The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present
Edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin
Copyright1999, Indiana University Press.
2. Watch the film about her:
"Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory - The Life and Music of the World's Greatest Gospel Singer."
3. Check her out singing "Didn't it rain" on YouTube.


Somebodies Friend said...

I'm feelin' you deep down in my soul by Mahalia Jackson is just what I needed to kick start my Sunday morning McDaddy!

As a matter of fact I was just gonna strut over to church myself and praise the lord.

Have a great Sunday McDaddy!

Nun in the Hood said...

Dear MacDaddy...THANK YOU for reminding me of Mahalia Jackson....I have see the stage show MAHALIA twice, and I, too, love her soul rendition of Precious Lord, and Move on up a lttle Higher.
I have heard it said that Gospel is born on the suffering endured by Black slaves and their ancestors in the Deep South, and to truly 'move' with their music, much less, try to sing has to be in touch with that pain...Many's the Gospel song I've 'swayed to' in my hermitage in the woods.....I find it easy to pray by.....sort of like being in touch with the divine....

MacDaddy said...

somebiesfriend: Glad I could help and hope you got to church.
nun: It's great you saw the stage show and get to "sway" to Sister Mahalia. YouTube has about 5 videotapes of her singing wonderfully. I think you would love her rendition of "We shall overcome." All the best. said...

Hey there,

Mahalia's anointed voice touches me in such a deep leaves me speechless...

Thank you for honoring her.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

MacDaddy said...

Lisa: My pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Mahalia! Love you. I fell in love with gospel in high school (in the middle of the prairie in a very Lutheran / Norwegian part of the country). This music just makes you feel like you're connected and loved and loving and that life is beautiful no matter who you are, or no matter what hardship life throws at you.