sábado, 6 de febrero de 2010
Marion Williams: The New Message / Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go (1969/1971)
Generally considered one of the most influential Gospel singers of all time, Marion Williams sung with a full-body growl so intense that anyone who wants to dispute her right to the title had better bring along a megaphone and some throat lozenges. The other side of her style, soul-shattering falsettos and anointed, exclamatory whoops, had a direct effect on Little Richard, for one, as well as countless others in both Gospel and secular music circles. From 1948 to 1958 she was the central figure in the ever-touring Ward Singers, stunning audiences with the high-test stage-show/revival meeting and a larger-than-life presence that has made her a legend. A stint with the short-lived Stars of Faith followed, and in 1965 she launched a solo career that was marked by comeback after comeback until her death in 1994. Her recordings, as group member and soloist, are legendary, especially Prayer Changes Things, Gospel Now and The New Message, although it is generally agreed that they don't do justice to the emotional force or dazzling imagination that characterized her live performances. Regardless of where she was on the charts or in her personal life, Williams' singing was never less than spectacular and her commitment to Christ was downright inflammatory. I have included here a pair of of the late gospel diva's finest moments: New Message and Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go, both originally issued on Atlantic in 1969 and 1971, respectively. Several traditional gospel hymns are interspersed with reflective hits of the times including 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother,' 'My Sweet Lord,' 'People Got to Be Free' and three from the pen of Bob Dylan, 'I Shall Be Released,' 'Wicked Messenger,' and 'I Pity the Poor Immigrant.' Along with the majestic background vocals of the Sweet Inspirations and the Dixie Hummingbirds, several stellar jazz musicians are present including Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Ray Bryant, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Junior Mance and Joe Zawinul, making these thoughtful and passionate sessions highly recommended.
A historic event: probably the first black gospel concert ever in the Netherlands, 1962. Marion Williams sings 'Mean Old World':
Marion singing 'Live the Life I Sing About in My Song' from her heart and soul:
An inspiring performance of 'Packin' Up', with Billie Preston on the Hammond Organ: