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Best-selling author Louis Bayard writes, “I know it’s a cliché to speak of Marion Williams as a treasure, but of course she is.
I particularly love how she teases apart and unravels the tempo and meter of each song in the manner of a great jazz musician. (Her influence on Nina Simone is self-evident.) Expansive, ruminative, always moving.
 
“Which to choose? The holy-rolling R. and B. of Press on Like the Bible Said, Talk About Jesus, Didn’t It Rain? The à cappella wonders of Angels with their Gaze? The gorgeous ponderings of Precious Memories or When Death Shall Determine My Stay Here or I’ve Got to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song . . . ?
A golden braid of secular and spiritual.”
 
JazzWax  Review  by Marc Myers     PDF
Journal of Gospel Music  Review  by Bob Marovich     PDF
 
“For many experts the greatest singer ever.”
                                        — Friedrich Mühlöcker, Amazon.com
 

   

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Combined CD / DVD. The DVD contains thrilling performances from the Golden Age of Gospel, with stars like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marion Williams, Dorothy Love Coates, The Soul Stirrers, The Dixie Hummingbirds, James Cleveland, Alex Bradford, J. Robert Bradley (with his inimitable performance of Amazing Grace), Madame Emily Bram, Delois Barrett Campbell, Robert Anderson, The (delightfully archaic) Consolers of Miami, Florida, and The Five Blind Boys of Alabama. The CD contains classics of the golden age by the likes of Morgan Babb and The Radio Four and Reverend Robert Ballinger (king of the sanctified piano), as well as previously unissued recordings, many of them live, of Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dorothy Love Coates, Reverend Claude Jeter, Brother Joe May, and The Famous Davis Sisters.
 
“Tony Heilbut should be knighted . . . ”
                                        — Joseph P. Sperry, Amazon.com
 

   

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Includes classics like The Day is Past and Gone, O Death, Bad News Bad Times, All Along the Highway, Strong Again, The Storm is Passing Over and Surely God is Able, as well as previously unissued performances, many of them live, of some of her biggest hits including Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go, Precious Lord, God Bless the Child, A Charge to Keep I Have (the hit song of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes) and How I Got Over, on which she is accompanied by Reverend James Cleveland on piano.
 
“The greatest singer ever.” — Rolling Stone
 

   

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A salute to the greatest soloists, groups and quartets of Gospel’s Golden Age. Includes amazing, previously unissued live performances by Claude Jeter and the Swan Silvertones, Brother Joe May and Jacqui Verdell, Professor Alex Bradford, and Queen C. Anderson, a gospel legend who introduced the songs later made famous by Mahalia Jackson and The Ward Singers, both of whom shine on this anthology, along with giants like The Angelic Gospel Singers and Dixie Hummingbirds, Edna Gallmon Cooke, Julius Cheeks and The Sensational Nightingales, The Davis Sisters, Professor J. Earle Hines and The St. Paul Baptist Church Choir, R. H. Harris and The Soul Stirrers, and The Roberta Martin Singers.
 
“Best Black Gospel 1947–1963”
                                — Hank n Tennessee, Amazon.com
 

   

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Still in print after 40 years, this anthology of Dorsey classics performed by Marion Williams, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Alex Bradford, R. H. Harris, Bessie Griffin, and Dorsey’s first musical partner Sallie Martin, is perhaps the most honored gospel album of its time. The most popular selections are Williams’ version of The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow and the title song (complete with Dorsey’s spoken memories of the song’s composition), Harris’ Peace in the Valley, and Bradford’s If You See My Savior.
 
“The top-rated traditional gospel album.” — Amazon.com
 

   

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Anthology includes three songs featured in films aired on CBS and HBO, Ain’t No Harm Done, I’ll Fly Away, and Just a Closer Walk with Thee, as well as definitive performances of Jesus Traveled This Road Before, W. Herbert Brewster’s I Thank You Lord, and He Knows How Much We Can Bear.
 
“The two-minute Sit Down Servant manages to encapsulate the entire history of African American music.”
                                — Noah Berlatsky, The Hooded Utilitarian
 

   

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This anthology of gospel’s greatest female soloists — Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dorothy Love Coates, Clara Ward, Mary Johnson Davis, Willie Mae Ford Smith, Roberta Martin, Marie Knight, etc. — has remained in print for twenty years, and is the most popular recording issued on Shanachie / Spirit Feel.
 

   

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This anthology, released shortly after Williams’ death, captures the youthful ball of fire in previously unissued live performances of her classics like In the Upper Room and Packin’ Up, the bluesy and disco-ready Dead Cat on the Line, recreations of the country standards Great Speckled Bird and Farther Along, Heilbut’s favorite recordings of Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow and Beams of Heaven, and a moaning, groaning version of the title selection.
 
“This is gospel music at its best.” — The All Music Guide
 

   

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Another collection of classic performances by gospel’s greatest women. Stars like Jackson, Tharpe, Williams, Ward, Cooke, Knight, Madame Ernestine B. Washington and Bessie Griffin are joined by the lesser known but comparably gifted Gladys Beamon Gregory, Frances Steadman, Ruth Davis, Delois Barrett Campbell, Sister Jessie Mae Renfro, Bessie Folk, Imogene Green and Myrtle Scott.
 

   

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A salute to six of the seven most influential quartet leads — R. H. Harris, Claude Jeter, Kylo Turner, Archie Brownlee, Silas Steele, Julius Cheeks; only Ira Tucker is absent. The singing is mostly a cappella, reflecting Heilbut’s confessed preference. Includes three previously unissued sides by The Pilgrim Travelers, known during the late l940s as “the baddest men on the road.” The other quartets featured include The Soul Stirrers, Swan Silvertones, Spirit of Memphis, Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and Sensational Nightingales. Along with Ira Tucker’s group The Dixie Hummingbirds, these ensembles set the standard for their countless imitators, the quartet equivalents of bar bands, all trading on the riffs of their heroes.
 

   

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Largely on the strength of this 1987 album, Williams won the MacArthur Fellowship in 1993. It includes Cool Down Yonder, featured in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, a live church performance of the gospel blues, I’ve Come So Far, featured in the civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize, Sometimes I Ring Up Heaven, recently recorded by Nina Hagen, and Born to Sing the Gospel, a song performed by Aretha Franklin and Lou Rawls at the White House in 1994.
 
Article: Marion Awarded MacArthur Fellowship
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