A Mahalia Jackson ad from the fifties (shortly after she moved from Apollo to Columbia records).





The intention is to give one of the greatest singers of our time the appropriate forum. You will find a discography here (mainly records published in Europe) as well as a detailed song list to each record. Such a list can never be complete or without mistakes. We will greatly appreciate any help you can give.




Places of interest:


--> EBONY´s cover story on Mahalia Jackson´s funeral, 1972
--> Doug Dornbos' Mahalia Jackson pages - check them out!
--> Mahalia Jackson Discography From the first recordings for DECCA until 1954 - the APOLLO years
--> The APOLLO LP Discography
--> The Columbia / CBS LP Discography
--> Some interesting cover scans from Japanese Columbia/Sony vinyls
--> The ultimative (updated) site for Mahalia Jackson song lyrics by Edwin Gersbach.
--> picturized labels section
--> Dr. Martin Luther King's famous March For Freedom Speach
--> Read some excerpts from Movin' on up (1968)
--> Frequently asked questions
--> The Collection - Here you will find tons of cover art pictures (LPs, singles, EPs, CDs)


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What will you find here?

You´ll find a discography containing LPs, singles, EPs, CDs with information on titles, issue dates, musicians etc. This especially is an area where help is needed...

Why Mahalia Jackson?

Well, when I was a little kid, six years of age perhaps, I hated my parents for playing a certain Christmas record: Mahalia Jackson sings Songs for Christmas. More or less, I grew up with this record.
And I got used to it. I started first to love, then to adore this amazing voice. Today, I am a collector of her rare records. Unfortunately, Columbia Records, the company who made Mahalia famous world-wide, doesn´t publish the wonderful long playing records of this artist, apart from some highlights, within them the Chritsmas album. There was so much more...LPs, EPs, singles - some of which were sold by the millions. Nowerdays, all that counts seem to be compilations. This is nice, but by far not enough.

Yet they are getting better! Try for example the CD edition of BLACK, BROWN AND BEIGE with additional tracks never released before.



Mahalia Jackson with Elvis Presley and Barbara McNair


Some very fine live performances from Mahalia, recorded in Europe and the United States are available. I wish I had seen her on stage. From the re-issue of her 1958 concert in Newport you can experiance and feel the power of a powerful woman. Listening to her "Lord´s Prayer" from that performance, you can feel shivers running down your back...
Today, the CD contains the original version of "Didn´t it rain" as performed during the concert.

For those of you who live in the United States of America, it might be easier to get hold of one of the early records. For me in good old Bavaria, it is far more difficult. With the help of the World Wide Web I try to get as much information on Mahalia as possible. Also, I try to increase my collection of disks of her.
(Check out the Collection page).
Remember: I don´t list them here to show how many I possess! The intention is to complete something like a world-wide discography of her.

You will find issues from different countries. There are records published by Apollo, CBS, Vogue (issued the Apollo recordings mainly in France and Germany), Metronome (issued the Apollo recordings mainly in Scandinavia), Philips and many more. And, for CDs, Sony, too. But don´t forget: Sony only picks the jewels from the original CBS catalogue to present them as original Sony recordings.


If you can contribute to this page, please contact me via e:mail. I greatly appreciate any information on her discography as well as on Mahalia´s live. I would love to learn about other fans of MAHALIA JACKSON!



Mahalia live

What makes the best even better? Well, this question is easy to answer when you refer to music! Music is at it´s best when it comes alive. What I mean is that music is an event for the moment and can hardly be conserved.

Concert handbill for an evening with Mahalia in Symphony Hall, Boston, on October 29th, 1961
check out text on the back of this brochure

If you want to record music, record it while the artists play to an audience. "Why is that?" you could ask, music is also "live" when recorded in a studio atmosphere! True and not true. True because real musicians play with real instruments. Not true, because they can play and rehearse as long as they want. Theoretically.
Live, this is on stage, in a club, a concert hall, an opera house, that is different. The artist has to prove his ability again and again on the stage. Even more difficult are "gigs" on an open-air concert. Mahalia Jackson recorded a live session in front of an audience, sitting in the rain, at a time when the term open-air concert wasn´t known. The concert was issued as "Mahalia Jackson live at Newport 1958".

CBS created a very interesting recording here: some of the titles were taken from the original stage appearence of Mahalia, some were replaced by studio recordings, combined by the applause from the listeners.

This technique becomes especially apparent with "Didn´t it rain". Not only did the record producers change the sequence of the songs. They even let Mahalia introduce this classic gospel with the words "well, I don´t know if you want to stay in the rain...". She said this to lead over to the encores. The song itself was recorded in a studio session and doesn´t reflect the actual perfomance!

It was no sooner than 1994, that CBS issued the restored concert on CD. Now all songs are in the correct order, and more important, all titles are the original ones from the event. Now for the first time you can FEEL the concert - you can feel what makes the difference between studio and true live recordings.

Something very similar happenend with the 1958 Newport concert of the famous bandleader and composer Duke Ellington. The original CBS recording featured studio sessions rather than the orignal live sessions. Also in 1994, Sony re-issued the whole concert on two compact discs.
There are two significant reasons for me to mention this here: firstly, it is a superb performance of Ellington´s orchestra and guest musicians. Secondly, it includes two never before released titles with Mahalia Jackson.
She is introduced to the audience by Frankie Laine and sings COME SUNDAY from Ellington´s Black, Brown and Beige suite, and PUT YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW. When you get the chance to hear this version, you´ll understand once more what makes the difference between a live and a studio session. Mahalia sings so expressively and so emotionally, it will blow your ears off. Trust me! Unfortunately, this double CD set is no longer available. You will have to try second hand sources.

Check out CD Now - my favourite site for CDs and one of the best sources for records on the net, or for books and more check:

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Remarks on record labels


Mahalia Jackson started her recording career with two takes on DECCA. Financially, these were not successful. She recorded quite a lot for APOLLO in New York and had her first million-selling single. In the fifties she changed to COLUMBIA. At that time her fame spread all over the world.

DECCA


Mahalia´s first records were issued 1937 under the DECCA Coral label. The records didn't sell well, and today they are almost forgotten. When you hear them, it is hard to believe this is Mahalia. Her voice is so high! The four titles are:

God's Gonna Separate The Wheat From The Tares
Keep Me Everyday
God Shall Wipe All Tears Away
Oh My Lord

Today, MCA owns the rights of the original DECCA records. They issue Mahalia songs under several labels (Peacock, MCA). Mostly you will find Apollo reissues. The DECCA sessions you can find on the CD "Amazing grace" (label: INDIGO). Check CD Now !

APOLLO


A lot can be said about the cooperation of Apollo and Mahalia. When Mahalia continued to make records, she found a fine partner with Apollo. They spread her records between the black comunity. She gained fame and soon becam a star. She recorded almost 100 songs for Apollo, making her the greatest and best-selling gospel singer ever.
Nevertheless, Mahalia looked for new partnes, partly due to mismanagement at Apollo. When she felt she didn't get all the royalties she had earned, she was furious. Columbia made an offer, and Mahalia couldn't resist. Who would?

The Apollo recordings were published from different record companies. You can find them on KENWOOD LPs and singles, mostly with the same covers and record numbers. NASHBORO also issued Apollo recordings.
In Europe, you find Apollo records on METRONOME (Denmark and Skandinavia), on VOGUE (France and later Great Britain and Germany).
Also, VOGUE France issued five LPs titled "Mahalia unédits" (Mahalia unpublished). These recordings were only published in Europe, never in the US. Some of the songs can be found on the VOGUE CD "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen" (only available as second hand). The sound quality is - let's say - poor, but the songs are very interesting (f.i. "Highway to Heaven").
By chance I found the same songs on video: You can buy five videos "Mahalia sings" with clips from the fifties, apparently made for Columbia broadcasting. When I compared the Vogue songs with the video, I found they were exactly the same! This means, Vogue published the "soundtrack" of these early tv clips without any hint on their origin. A puzzle is solved...
Today, the name Apollo disappeared from record labels. There are no "Apollo" CDs. All you find are several compilations from different small labels. If you want to get an overview over Mahalia's Apollo period, try "How I got over" (Westside, UK, 3 CDs). The compilation box shows the original art work of an Apollo LP.
Also, there exist three CDs from Japan under the P-Vine label. These CDs also show original Apollo artwork. The titles of these CDs are:

Just as I am
Mahalia
In the upper room with Mahalia Jackson

Unfortunately, they are very hard to obtain. Although the mastering of the songs on these CDs is not always satisfactory, they contain titles not available on other CDs. Only for the hard core fan!
>ou can also try the beautiful MCA compilation "No matter how you pray" (1 CD). CD Now helps!

Columbia / CBS


In 1954, Mahalia signed with Columbia records. Her first single to be published was "The treasures with love / A rusty old halo". These two songs already show the direction in which Mahalia's recording career would go: heavenly arrenged, coirs, overdubbed voices, strings. With Columbia's broad distribution channels, Mahalia soon became a star not only within the US (black and white comunity), but over the whole world. Mahalia had her own TV show and soon travelled, also to Europe.
In the beginning, the Columbia records were published in Europe under the Philips label, sometimes with different picture sleeves. Also, Philips issued EP compilations. From the mid-sixties, the European recordings were published under the CBS label.
Today, her Columbia recordings are the ones which are known best. It is true that many arrangements from this period are close to kitsch. But when you listen to Mahalia's voice, she makes you forget about that. I want to list some of my favourite Columbia records, some of them are available on CD:

Sweet little Jesus boy (available on CD as "Silent night"; try second hand sources).
Newport 1958 (two versions available on CD: as published 1958, and the restored and digitally remastered concert) CD Now
The power and the glory (simply a hammer! CD Now)
Great songs of love and faith (available from Amazon.Com ASIN-#B000244F46)
Silent Night-Songs for Christmas (the classic Christmas album, the one that brought me to Mahalia. CD Now)
M.J. recorded live on her latest tour to Europe (available on CD -> CD Now)
How I got over (compilation album from 1976 with rare live tracks. Only on vinyl)

Today, SONY owns Columbia. They issued a lot of compilation albums including two 3-CD sets with partly rare material. But many original Columbia LPs are not available on CD. Apparently, It will take some time until Sony will satisfy the small market of Mahalia Jackson fans. If you want to read/see more about labels, check this out!


Record Service


From my own experiance I know about the difficulties in obtaining records from Mahalia Jackson, either on vinyl or CD. Unfortunately it takes good research skills to find any at all, especially if you are looking for special items (45s, EPs, oversea editions...). Not every record was published in every country.

What I can offer is some help in finding your desired record. But: no promises! And you will have to accept "unusual" prices for some items. On catalouge items, I will not add any surcharges. Extras are shipping and handling. And, of course, you will be informed about the price upfront!

Please remember, I am not a record dealer. I am just a great fan, who wants as many people as possible to have the chance to enjoy Mahalia´s music. In some cases I can offer to send you a tape from my own collection. Again, this is not to earn a lot of money on them. It is just a necessety, for most of the original recordings have long been deleted from the various catalogues.


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