Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mahalia Jackson--"In the Upper Room"

This is the last of the songs from this book.

"She put on a record by Mahalia Jackson, In the Upper Room, and sat at the window, her hands in her lap, looking out over the sparkling streets."

It takes a couple of minutes to get going, but I have to say, when it does, this is a ferocious good number.

Gospel music is yet another of the many genres I know virtually nothing about, though it is one of the great musical forms of our nation. As I have noted before, I seem to live in perhaps the most unmusical corner of the whole country, though it is not clear to me why this should be so. It just isn't important to people, even those with an earnest desire to know about it, in the same way it is elsewhere. The heretic church that I have been known to attend from time to time will sometimes slip an American 'spiritual' into its program--they had "Go Down, Moses" a few weeks ago--these really are great songs, absolutely on the level of the better traditional hymns. I suppose everybody else knew this already, but I had to see it played out over a period of months in the church setting, etc, before I could sign on wholeheatedly. I consider myself signed on now.

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